Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Ranch Rodeo...not what you'd expect.

Mountain Man left me last month. Jerk.

Now instead of being a mere three hours away he's moved six hours away into the depths of wild hog Oklahoma country. Hadn't been there a month and he already shot a wild hog. He's a crazy man.

Anyway, long story short....DR bought Mountain Man a used saddle. Neither Mountain Man, DR or I have had the time to drive to drop off/pick up this saddle.

Flashback last Sunday morning. We're walking from church and DR and Mountain Man are yipping back and forth on the phone...they're buddies. DR hangs up, turns to me and says, "Change of plans, we are going to a rodeo!" Huh? We had plans?

Turns out the Ranch Rodeo Finals were being held in Dodge City and one of Mountain Man's buddies was competing. After competing, this buddy was headed to Texas and would be willing to take the saddle to my brother in Oklahoma. Great! We are going to the rodeo! is a Ranch Rodeo different than the rodeo we went to last month?

First off the cowboys in a Ranch Rodeo work in teams of four and the teams compete in four events. These four events would be tasks the cowboys would do on the ranch. Their collective times would be added together to get the winner. Secondly, all of these cowboys work on a ranch. They aren't these professional good looking "cowboys" who get their pictures in Stetson or Wrangler advertisements. Nope, Ranch Rodeo cowboys are REAL cowboys. Third, the stands weren't nearly as full. There were probably only a couple hundred in the stands and there wasn't nearly the fanfare or glitz as the rodeo last month.

EVENT #1 - Branding

This event starts with a dozen or so calves in a pen. 

One team members rides in to rope a calf...

...and has to pull it through a gate. Once outside, two team members have to get the calf on it's side and the rope off. The fourth team member (off to the right) waits with a branding iron (not hot) to run in and "brand" the calf. 

The team has to rope and "brand" two calves and when the brander has placed his iron in the blue bucket that ends the time for this event. 

 Event #2 - Sort and Load

I think this was my favorite event. There's a white line in the dirt and off to the right are about a dozen steers with numbers on their backs; two of each number; 2 3's, 2 4's, 2 5's, etc. 

The team is given a number and it's their job to cut out the two steers with that number on their backs while keeping the other steers on the left of the line. This was sure something to see because you wouldn't believe how good some of these teams were. Some of them would seem to work for just a minute or so and then suddenly they had both steers cut and running. 

Once the steers were cut to the right of the line they were herded to the other end of the arena....

....around a gate (sorry, it's behind the post)...

....then herded into a gated area. 

The team had to load the steers into a trailer without letting them out of the gate....

...then load three horses in the trailer. The fourth cowboy had let his horse go when he took charge of closing the gate. 

Time is flagged when the trailer is shut tight and all four cowboys (or 3 cowboys and 1 cowgirl in this case) are on the back of the truck. 

Event #3 - Team Doctoring

In the doctoring event, a larger steer is let loose and the team has to work together to rope it.... it's head and heel. 

Then the team works together to get three legs tied together. Now these weren't that little of steers. Combined those cowboys probably didn't out weigh that steer. 

The time is flagged by the judge (guy on horse with the flag) after the team is up and the steer stays tied for a certain number of seconds. When a steer needs doctoring this is the safest way to handle the steer for both the animal and the cowboys. 

Event #4 - Wild Cow Milking 

Cow Milking...kind of what it sounds like but rather than getting a wild cow to stand still to get milked the cowboys rope her, throw her on her side and milk just a bit of milk into a beer bottle. Yep, a beer bottle. Once they milk a certain amount of milk, which isn't much, they run to a circle at the edge of the arena for their time. Now I don't think this is something cowboys are called on too often to do  on a daily basis but it was sure entertaining to watch. 

Sorry, didn't get any photos of this event but it was a lot like this....


I'm sure happy Mountain Man called and changed our plans. I really enjoyed the low key Ranch Rodeo. It was nice to see the down to earth "real" cowboys excel at the jobs they do everyday. They definitely don't get the attention they deserve. 

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