First Denver Championship WRCA Ranch Rodeo March 15
The inaugural Denver Championship Working Ranch Cowboys Association Ranch Rodeo cinches the Saturday night action at the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo this year with genuine cowboys rustling up the genuine excitement for everyone in and around the arena.
Ranch Rodeo is steeped in history and formed from the everyday realities of the cowboy life. And make no mistake about this: when the realities get a little “western” (to use an old expression for a certain kind of livestock chaos), these cowboys can handle the tough stuff. They work all week on their ranches, sorting and moving cattle, starting colts, doctoring and branding calves ” and they ride for the legendary brands that still represent the heart of America’s livestock industry today.
Every WRCA Ranch Rodeo honors the traditions of ranch life and promotes respect for the cowboy of today, whose hard work and long hours put food on Americans’ tables. But Ranch Rodeos are about fun, too: The excitement gets ramped up when judges measure the cowboys’ speed and skill, and good-natured rivalries between ranches come into play. Show offs? Oh, maybe there’s a little of that, too. Maybe.
The events highlighted at the Denver Championship event include:
– Wild Cow Milking
– Ranch Branding
– Stray Gathering
– Ranch Sorting
– Ranch Bronc Riding
– Trailer Loading
Cowboys from the following outfits will compete:
Bar Cross and Rolling Hills – Kansas
Broken Spear & San Jose Ranches – Colorado
Buck Creek Ranch and Lonesome Pine Ranch – Kansas
Haythorn Land & Cattle Co. – Nebraska
Higg Ranch, a division of Ryan-Stroud Ranches – Texas & New Mexico
High Card Ranches and Conley Ranch – Texas
MC3 Cattle and SV Land & Cattle – Texas
Rush Creek Cattle Company and JOD Ranch – Colorado
Thompson Ranch – Texas
Wilson and T4 Cattle Company – Texas
Withers & Smith Ranches – Colorado
Most of the participating cowboys are ranch rodeo veterans, and many have come up against each other more than once ” or cheered each other as teammates when ranch pairings have changed from rodeo to rodeo. They all have won their share of prizes in the past.
A few recent examples come to mind: The T4 won last year’s Ride for the Brand Ranch Rodeo in Colorado Springs; at that same event, Thompson Ranch took second and Withers teamed with Rush Creek Cattle Company for a third place finish. The 2007 World Championship Ranch Rodeo saw the Thompson Ranch come in third and win the Wild Cow Milking, Buck Creek Ranch (with Scribner Ranch) win the Team Penning division, and at the end of the event, Craig Haythorn’s stallion, PG Shogun (“Pen”), returned home to the Haythorn Land & Cattle Company with the 2007 WRCA Top Working Ranch Horse title.
WRCA Ranch Rodeos honor the ranches, not just the cowboys. Audiences learn a lot about the ranches’ unique histories during the competition. Buck Creek Ranch, for example, was founded in 1858 by abolitionist Samuel Wood, who moved into Kansas Territory because there he could vote his beliefs about slavery. High Card Ranch actually changed hands as the result of a card draw”not in the 1800s, as one might suspect, but in 1983. Thompson Ranch crosses three Texas counties and has supported three generations of the Thompson family since the early 1900s. The Haythorn Land & Cattle Company was established in 1884 by an English emigrant who learned cowboying when he worked off his passage after stowing away to cross the Atlantic; today, the Haythorns have been on their land for five generations.
The Denver Championship WRCA Ranch Rodeo takes place Saturday, March 15 at 7 p.m. in the Event Center at the National Western Complex. Tickets are on sale now and will also be sold at the door; a combined package is available for Saturday’s Rocky Mountain Horse Expo and the Ranch Rodeo.
The Rocky Mountain Horse Expo mixes tradition with fun for three days filled with horse events: clinicians, speakers, horse demonstrations, private treaty sales, shopping and more, for the whole family. For details, visit http://www.RockyMountainHorseExpo.com or call (303) 292-4981.