The Thomas County Fairgrounds east of Thedford became home to horsepower, of both the four-legged and two-wheeled kinds, Aug. 2 at the “Crossroads of the Sandhills.”
As one entered the fairgrounds, the mechanical two wheeled ‘horses’(motorcycles) occupied the south, where their riders could park them and not have far to go to stretch their legs, get some great food and cold drinks before getting back in the saddle for their last leg to the 74th annual Sturgis Road Rally.
At the north end of the fairgrounds, in the arena the four legged horses and their riders were competing in the “Fire and Ice Team Roping” series.
“This is the first year that we will be holding a total of 13 team roping events across the state,” said co-organizer, LeAnn Huhman of Taylor, Neb. LeAnn and her husband Doug were the main organizers, but it takes a local coordinator to round up all the volunteers to make it run as smoothly.Andy Knott was the coordinator at the Thedford event.
Assisting LeAnn in the “crow’s nest” — where the Huhmans set up their own pop up shade and technical equipment and sit it on a flatbed, closer to the action than the fairgrounds crow’s nest — was Brenda Plugge-Johnson from Burwell, Neb.
LeAnn said the series’ name came from her family’s experiences.
“Well Doug and I both are a little fiery, and ice, well, that too some days,” she said. “Thinking about it, some days ropers are on fire, catching everything they throw their loop at, next time you can’t catch anything, you are cold as ice. The Garfield county clerk, Debbie Postany, made our logo. We will be giving away 4 saddles, several buckles and numerous other prizes at the finals in Burwell on August 16 and 17. In order to qualify for the finals, ropers had to go to three different ropings this season. Ropings were held as far east as Columbus, and as far west as Thedford. Tomorrow we have one at Ericson.”
Each roping of the series has two separate ropings. In the first, 67 teams were entered, while 204 teams were entered in the second. You can choose your own partner, or you can have the “luck of the draw.” With so many teams per session, the next riders had to enter the box as the previous ones are roping their steer. The steers were provided by Jeff Miller of Ericson, Neb. In an hour’s time, LeAnn said they have 100 teams done roping. In between the two ropings, Doug Huhman and Kari Haake had the Junior Looper competition behind the crow’s nest.
Six young future team ropers showed their skills on a roping dummy, since they have to learn to rope on the ground before they get on horseback.
Winners of that competition were Landon Sheppard in the 0 to 6 age division, Brent Charlton in the 7 to 9 years and Ryan Sheppard, age 11, won the 10 to 12 year age division. The winners all were from North Platte and all received new ropes.
“It has been a great addition to our ropings, and we will have a Junior Looper competition at the finals in Burwell,” LeAnn said. “All kids are welcomed there, they do not need to compete or win previously,.”
If you would like to help sponsor, donate or just learn more about the ropings, including the Junior Looper competition at the finals, contact LeAnn at firstname.lastname@example.org or Brandi at email@example.com or go to lroping.com. ❖