Ten four-man teams from the surrounding area came to the Park County Fair to compete in Thursday’s inaugural ranch rodeo. In addition to battling in four different events, awards for top hand and top horse were also handed out.
“We were asked to bring it to the fair and of course we jumped at the opportunity,” said Christen Grant, who coordinated the event with her husband, Sky. “We’ve been to a lot of ranch rodeos and competed in them. We’re just excited to bring it to the Basin and share with the community.”
Grant added that, “ranch rodeos are really great at letting the cowboy or cowgirl show off their horsemanship and their stockmanship and they get to work as a team.”
“It’s different than most of the events you see in the Basin,” she said.
The four-man teams competed in team branding, sort and doctor, trailer loading and wild cow milking. At the conclusion of the event, ladies competed in steer stopping.
Each event was timed, with the quickest team in each event receiving 10 points, the second fastest team getting nine points and so on.
The Cowboy Relief team — consisting of Christen Grant, Sky Grant, Tyler Sherman and Chris Hatch — took first place, while Hatch won the Top Hand award.
Cowboy Relief is a nonprofit organization the Grants started six years ago to help out a friend who needed help with his medical bills after heart surgery.
“He was the sole provider for his family and so we felt that people would come together and see the need and help and it was a success,” Christen Grant explained. “And so we’ve just taken off since then and we choose a different family every year.”
The only stipulation is the benefactor has to be a working cowboy; the recipients are nominated by families and decided on by the Cowboy Relief committee.
“Ranch cowboys and their employees most often cannot pay for health insurance and so a lot of times, the medical bills fall on that family and so we try to help,” said Christen Grant, adding, “We go around competing in ranch rodeos as the Cowboy Relief to kind of let people know about our nonprofit and spread the word.”
Lazy J 3 Quarter Horses from Melstone, Montana, with a four-man team of Greg Severe, Mackabe Severe, Gillian Severe and Garrett Severe, earned second place at the Park County Fair.
Third place featured a tie between Hook Ranch with participants from Meeteetse, Cody and Cowley, and the Broken Circle Ranch from the Ten Sleep and Shell area.
Jace Hook, Braden Grant, Tyler Sherman and Mike Lloyd made up the Hook Ranch team.
Lloyd won the Top Horse award atop Charlie Russell.
“I can’t believe it; it was very surprising,” Lloyd said of the award. “I’m glad it happened with him, though.”
Lloyd, from Cody, started training the horse a year ago, when the animal was 3 years old.
The Broken Circle Ranch team was comprised of Paul Erickson, Beau Jackson, Clayton Galloway and Quinn Larson.
Fifth place went to the Pryor Mountain Ranches team, which came from the Pryor Mountain area in Deaver and Bridger. Those on the team were Clayton Malson, Mike Keyser, Jake Hahn and Danielle Malson.
The Wood River Ranch from the Meeteetse area sent a team of Pierson Hodgens, Bruce Bolli, Tim Acord and Linden Acord, who finished sixth.
Seventh place was awarded to Steed Livestock from the Lovell and Cowley area; their team was Ben Steed, Tyler Lindquist, Ben Loyning and Tyler Woodland.
Eighth place went to Rock Creek Ranch, composed of Jerry Hill, Marshall Hesson, Clancy McNabb and Mike Apanashk, all of the Clark area.
Ninth and 10th place went to the Sunlight Ranch, who had two teams competing.
The ranch’s Mountain Crew of Jeff Mickell, Tom Gibons, Skyler Erickson and J.W. Robinson took ninth place. Taking 10th was the Sunlight Ranch team of Bryan Elliott, Eric Rideout, Jimmy Basso and Luke Wozney.
As for the Ladies Steer Stopping event, Jess Hahn won with a time of 24.85 seconds; Hannah Woehlecke took second with a time of 41.09.
Also competing in the steer stopping event were Rylie Erickson, Gillian Severe, Audrey Kremer, Cayle Kremer, Kinley Erickson and Laurel Hatch.
“It has been awesome to work with the fair board, they have been very easy and good to work with,” said Christen Grant. “We hope to be back next year.”
Meanwhile, this year’s Cowboy Relief event is set for Nov. 11 in Laurel, Montana, with events including muley roping, three-man team doctoring and goat roping for the kids.
In team branding, teams had eight minutes to rope, throw and mark four steers with chalk mixed with paint; it equated to two minutes a calf.
Two members started on horseback while the other two members threw and marked the calf. Once two calves were marked, the places were switched with the men on horseback going on foot and those on foot getting in the saddle.
Sort and Doctor
For the Sort and Doctor event, each team had to separate out two corriente steers marked with a specific number — out of a herd of 20. A line was drawn across the arena with flour. Only the steers with the specified number were allowed to cross that line; a 10 second penalty was added to the team’s final time for any steers that crossed the line of flour.
Once the two specified steers were across the line, the team could then advance to rope them and mark their heads with a chalk line.
The event had a time limit of five minutes.
As for trailer loading, each team was assigned a specific numbered steer. Teams had to sort that one steer out of a herd of 20, with the same flour line and penalties applied as the Sort and Doctor.
Once the steer was separated, the team then moved in to rope the steer and had to load it into a trailer parked at the opposite end of the arena from the sorting area.
No horses were allowed in the trailer. The event had a time limit of three minutes, with the clock stopping once the trailer door was shut.
Wild Cow Milking
Two teams participated at once in the Wild Cow Milking. Two cows were directed into the arena and each team had to rope one and milk her. Each team had to have enough milk in the bottle that some would drip out when the bottle was tipped upside down.