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Todd Brewer

Working cowboys show skills

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By Todd Brewer

Area ranches competed Monday night in the annual Invitational Ranch Rodeo at the North Texas Fair and Rodeo. Events that simulate the day-to-day activities of a working ranch cowboy allow the teams to demonstrate their skill as well as that of their horses.

The first event was team branding. A cowboy on horseback rides into a herd, ropes a calf and drags it across a line, where teammates untie and “brand” the calf with an iron coated with chalk. Reding Ranch posted the top time of 38.83 seconds for two calves, with Calvert Ranch placing second at 54.99. In third place was the Gainesville Livestock team.

Team doctoring features four cowboys on horseback — two who must rope a steer by the head and heels and two who dismount and untie the steer. The event simulates how cattle are doctored in a pasture. Placing first with a time of 24.99 was Gainesville Livestock. Sikes Ranch came in second at 35.09, and Porter Ranches finished third with a 39.53.

The maverick catch-in event is similar to team doctoring, but instead of removing the head and heel ropes, the cowboys tie three of the downed steer’s legs. Coming out on top again was Gainesville Livestock at 37.49. Second went to Calvert Ranch with a time of 51.95, and in third was Reding Ranch.

Team sorting starts with a herd of 15 heifers, each with a number on their hip. One cowboy rides into the herd and sorts cattle out in sequential order while his three teammates try to keep the rest of the herd from crossing a line.

Reding Ranch pushed five across in order in 1:19 before a cow out of order crossed to stop the clock. Placing second with three cows in 1:10 was Open Range Cowboy Church. In third was Sikes Ranch with three cows in 1:16.

Ranch bronc riding is similar to saddle bronc riding, but a working ranch saddle with a saddle horn is used and contestants are allowed to hang on with both hands. Open Range Cowboy Church posted a score of 78 for the win, with Reding Ranch’s 74 putting it in second. A 72 by Ellis Ranch was good enough for third place.