Everyone knows that ranchers provide the food that sustains us. Few people realize the work that goes in to moving food from the field to the dinner plate, however.
Hoping to educate and entertain a clearly excited group of spectators, 77 ranchers arrived at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds on Aug. 3 to compete in the sixth annual Ranch Rodeo at the Montezuma County Fair. Participating in a variety of ranch-based events, the ranchers performed impressively, exposing those in attendance to some of the tasks associated with ranching and leaving a lasting impression a lively crowd.
At the core of ranch rodeo events is an emphasis on practicality. In other words, a ranch rodeo tests the skills that are needed to be a successful rancher.
“The events are things that we do on a working ranch,” explained Cortez rancher Wyatt Wallace. “Stuff like branding calves, roping calves, this is stuff that we do everyday. Events like this are exciting for cowboys and exciting for the crowd.”
Events at this year’s Cortez Ranch Rodeo included calf branding, team penning, bell roping, trailer loading and wild cow milking.
During the calf branding event, two ranchers on horseback worked with two ranchers on foot to rope, secure and brand specific calves that were initially part of a larger herd. Showing off their roping and steer-wrestling skills, the Wild Bunch, a team comprised of Blanding ranchers Preston Gover, Shawn Ivins, Justin Ivins and David Ivins won this year’s branding event.
In team penning, which required four horsemen to cut and pen three similarly numbered cattle from a larger herd, the Wild Bunch were again victorious, thus staking their claim to the Ranch Rodeo team title.
During the bell roping event, one cow wearing a bell must be roped, the bell must be removed and then transferred to a second cow wearing the first number as the initial cow. Ending the Wild Bunch’s string of victories, the 4 Amigos, a team from Monticello, Utah, won the event.
The trailer loading event, which required ranchers to rope and load both a calf and a burro, proved to be one of the most exciting events of the evening. Demonstrating impressive teamwork and horsemanship, The Rock Crushers, a team based in Cortez and comprised of Jeremiah Karston, Derek Goldtooth, Jake Kreswell and Jube Odell, came away victorious.
Concluding the evening’s events, the wild cow milking event repeatedly brought the crowd to its feet. To successfully complete the event, teams were required to rope, hold and then milk a cow. After a great struggle, a team known as The Regulators emerged victorious.
“This is the sixth straight year that we’ve had this event,” said Ranch Rodeo organizer Zane Odell. “It has been growing every year. This year, we paid out $7,800 in cash and $1,000 in prizes. It was a truly great event.”
Beautifully summing up exactly what makes a ranch rodeo so special, Camp Verde, Ariz. rancher Dan Connerly stated, “Watching a ranch rodeo is like watching a piece of the past. People do not get to see cowboys do their jobs very much because they operate in such remote country. It’s nice for people to see what cowboys do.”
So very true and ultimately, having the opportunity to see ranchers in action will keep spectators coming back to Cortez’s Ranch Rodeo for years to come.