Busy weekend for cowboys, cowgirls at Wyo. Ranch Rodeo
June 30, 2016
Morningside Arena at the CamPlex in Gillette, Wyoming was the site of an entertaining demonstration of traditional cowboy skills last weekend. Twenty-one open teams of four and nine womens teams of four showcased their talents and abilities and those of their horses in four authentic ranch events replicated in a competition setting. The 120 mounts and riders performed to peak ability in Sorting/Doctoring, Tie Down, Trailer Loading and Branding, enhanced by the addition of 20 Stock Saddle Bronc Riders and 27 Women's Steer Stoppers. Each event champ received a trophy belt buckle along with cash payoff to third, and other prizes were awarded down to sixth place.
Brainchild of fourth-generation cowgirl and horse breeder Tiffany Schwenke of North Four Mile Creek Quarter Horses near the colorful Pumpkin Buttes, this cowboy event came to life through Tiffany's efforts alongside her husband Mark and a number of other friends and family members who worked hard to make it happen. Even their young children helped out.
Followed by a raging windstorm that drove crowds from the G.T. Hurley concert following Friday's jackpot team roping and barrel race, Saturday's weather couldn't have been better for the competition. The grandstand was full and a lot of cars encircled the arena as their occupants viewed the event.
Opening ceremonies included quadrille riders and a draft driving demonstration by Mike Cushman of Powder River Percherons. Mike brought a beautiful six-up of dapple grays to town with his big freight wagon and WyoWildRide Grand Marshall's Bill and Billee Hackett, both 2015 Honorees to the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame, riding up front with him.
Women's team event Champs were the Pistol Annies, made up of Rainie Mullanix, Brooke and Bridget Howell and Kaycee Monnens, who finished their four events in 6 minutes and 56.38 seconds. Right behind them was Antelope Springs Ranch represented by Cindy Campbell, Taylor Mason, Jen Scheer and Amy Deselms with total time of 6:61.55. Third was claimed by the Bismark Ranch team of Amanda Karrels, Christina Gorzalka, and Callie and Jaycie Burch who clocked 6:92.86. Brandi Schleve, Brenda Beeson, Janice Keenan and Emma Minor of Western Cattle Source had 7:17.13 to cinch fourth place. The Seven Blackfoot Ranch girls Jana Kelly, Sam Kortum, Jennifer Weeding and Courtney Rooney claimed fifth with 8:75.63.
In Open competition The Livestock Link featuring Ty Hotchkiss, Jay Olsen, Tanner Hewitt and Ty Thybo ran away with the lead in 4:23.96. Flint Ranch also finished under 5 minutes as their team of Gavin Flint, Burt Reno, Jay Grant and Cody Hutchison hustled hard to clock 4:78.18. Claiming third were the Epp Land & Cattle crew with 5:60.45 for Justin Quint, Riggen Epp, Levi Swafford and Dusty Gilbert. Heart X Ranch's Rhett Flint, James & Robert Tarver and Jesse Clement finished their events in 5:67.07 to be fourth; followed by J.D. Williams, Boe Simmons, Brad Lang and Tyler Clawson of the Four Three ranch in fifth.
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The Steer Stopping buckle was carried off by Jaycie Burch who opened the ball suddenly with 3.53 seconds. Rhonda Matt roped the next calf out in 4.72 setting a quick pace for the rest of the ladies. Alesa Jones roped and stopped her critter to the judge's specifications in 4.84 to claim third. The timer punched the stop watch on 5.35 for Amanda Fischer to cinch fourth and Brandi Schelve claimed the remaining spot with 5.84.
The rank Burch Broncs gave the Ranch Bronc Riding contestants plenty to think about when the chute gates opened. Top money was split between Justin Quint and Colt Hamaker. Cheyenne Seymour and JW Thrush split third and fourth, followed by Tanner Solberg in fifth and Wesley Rosengreen, who won last years WWRRA bronc riding, claiming sixth this time.
Two tough cowgirls entered the Stock Saddle Bronc Riding, but both bit the dirt. To their credit, on broncs of that caliber, both Jennaya Frye and Brittany Miller weathered the storm for several jumps and reached the center of the arena before coming down hard.
The long day's action was topped off with a concert by Adrian the Buckaroogirl, a force of nature from distant California who takes listeners deep into the lives and challenges faced by cowboys and ranchers through songs that reflect her experiences growing up on ranches across the West. The following day Trinity Seeley from Montana's Charlie Russell country gave a concert at the Ranch Rodeo Horse Sale.