Rodeo, friends pay tribute to fallen Madras man

Tree faller, cowboy John Hammack is going to be missed

POSTED: 7:16 PM PDT August 2, 2013    UPDATED: 11:25 PM PDT August 2, 2013 
REDMOND, Ore. -

The Madras man killed in a tragic accident Thursday at a fire in the Mt. Washington Wilderness Area was honored Friday evening at the Deschutes County Fair Rodeo in Redmond.

John Hammack, 58, was involved in the the Northwest rodeo scene for many years, competing at many of the smaller rodeos across Central Oregon, as well as winning titles on a global level.

A single, riderless horse walked the arena and was greeted by Hammack's family, where they were given an American flag.

Earlier Friday afternoon, a procession of firefighters escorted Hammack's remains from where he lost his life, through downtown Sisters and on to a Redmond funeral home.

As the firefighters remember the man many of them knew, the rodeo was planning its tribute to Hammack.

"John was a real rodeo legend in Central Oregon", Deschutes County Rodeo organizer Randy Amis said. "He taught many bareback riders how to ride the horses."

One of the riders was Mark Barkley

"He was a legend in the rodeo world," Barkley said. "When you say the name John Hammack, everybody knows he was one of the best bareback riders in the Northwest, or anywhere for that matter."

Barkley says John was as well-known in the logging community as he was in the rodeo world, the tragic accident coming as a shock to all who knew him.

"You know, he went away doing something he loved to do," Barkley said. "In my opinion, he went out as a hero. He was a great guy and he is going to be missed by a lot of us."

Deschutes County has ordered all flags to fly at half-staff for the next 48 hours.