Working ranch cowboys from around the region gathered at the North Texas State Fair and Rodeo arena Monday night for the annual Invitational Ranch Rodeo. Events based on everyday ranch tasks tested the skills of the cowboys and the horses.
The first event was team branding, in which a cowboy rides into a herd, ropes a calf and drags it back across a line, where two teammates remove the rope and a third runs in and “brands” the calf with a branding iron coated with chalk. Leading the way with a total time of 42.34 seconds was Calvert Ranch. Placing second was Gainesville Livestock with a time of 52.16. Reding Ranch was third at 53.98.
The next event was team doctoring, which simulates catching a steer or heifer by the head and heels and marking it to simulate inoculation or treatment of an injury. The teams are allowed three loops to make their catches. Only two teams were successful, with Gainesville Livestock coming out on top with a time of 34.70. Calvert Ranch posted a 41.59 for second place.
The maverick catch-in event features four men on horseback roping and tying three legs of a steer. The event also has origins in the treatment of injured or sick cattle on the ranch. Reding Ranch won with a time of 30.08 seconds, followed by Sikes Ranch with a 33.77. Gainesville Livestock added to its overall point total with a third-place time of 41.80.
Team sorting has one cowboy sorting out steers from a herd, in numerical order based on hip tags. The steers are pushed across a line and kept from rejoining the herd by three other team members. Cattle instinctively want to rejoin the herd, so all team members must be alert. Teams are awarded five points for each head successfully sorted.
Calvert Ranch and Porter Ranch took the top two spots with 35 points apiece. Sikes Ranch and Gainesville Livestock tied for third place with 25 points.
The last event of the night was ranch bronc riding. It is similar to saddle bronc riding except that a regular working saddle is used and contestants are allowed to use both hands to attempt to stay on for the required eight seconds. Gainesville Livestock padded its overall lead with 76 points to win the event. In second was Sikes Ranch with a score of 72 and third was Open Range Cowboy Church with a 71.
When the final scores were tallied, Gainesville Ranch won $2,500 for its first-place finish, Calvert Ranch pocketed $1,000 and Sikes Ranch earned $500.