Gillette to host ranch rodeos June 24-26
The big Wyo Wild Ride Ranch Rodeo and Horse Sale is shaping up to light a cowboy fuse under historic Gillette, Wyoming the weekend of June 24 – 26, 2016. Brainchild of fourth-generation Campbell County rancher Tiffany Schwenke, who pulled off the rip-roaring premiere event there last year, the 2016 happening promises to be even bigger and better.
Both the Western States Ranch Rodeo Association (WSSRA) and the Womens’ Ranch Rodeo Association (WRRA), with members chasing points toward National Finals competition in the fall, have approved this event. The Wild Ride’s unique and rich prize list combined with the point-earning opportunity drew a full complement of contestants, already signed up.
Thrills and spills will ignite fan adrenaline as four tough events – Sort & Doctor, Head & Heel Tiedown Roping, Trailer Loading and Head & Heel Team Branding — are scheduled for both Men’s and Women’s teams, each featuring four experienced riders and ropers. With a Boot Race and Mutton Bustin’ on the program, not even the youngest cow-kid is overlooked.
Individual competition will be wild in the Steer Stopping and Stock Saddle Bronc Riding, both reminiscent of action that has taken place across the prairies north, south, east and west of the Cam-Plex since the 1880’s. Thirty five gals with hungry loops have already entered the Steer Stopping, and Schwenke says, “I have 20 entries in the Bronc Riding, and three are women!”
Along with (and because of) all that, the Ranch Horse Sale promises to bring an even bigger crowd to town. Jackpot Team Roping and Barrel Racing opens the ball at 2 pm Friday June 24, drawing an eager crowd that will stick around at least three days to experience the finale; giving vendors, sponsors, the Cam-Plex and the entire region a welcome boost in revenue
Contestants with working ranch horses for sale will have ample opportunity to showcase them through two full days of competition. During that time prospective buyers – ranchers, cowboys, and even pleasure riders or horse show aficionados – will have their eyes peeled, knowing much about the equines those eyes favor after seeing them put through their paces in such lengthy, mentally/physically-testing competition. Horses will further be previewed at 9 am Sunday the 26th, just prior to the 11 am auction. Such helpful background will engender heavy bidding competition during the sale, driving equine prices higher to benefit breeders and trainers – while successful buyers know they didn’t get a pig in a poke, but can confidently ride off to work on the horses they haul home.
Backgrounding the action is a great trade fair, featuring things you won’t often find downtown. Small businesses, craftsmen and artists, including blacksmiths, silversmiths, gear makers and their colorful cowboy trappings are sure to please your taste.
No matter how dirty and grueling the competition, cowboys and cowgirls live for the fun that comes when the work is done, so you’ll find them chompin’ at the bit for the G.T. Hurley concert kicking off at 7 pm Friday the 24th in the Cam-Plex Multi Event Center. Fittingly, G.T.’s outfit is recognized across the west as Silver Bit Music. A retired Marine, miner and cowboy who’s fairly new to the world of Western music, G.T says “the taste of gunpowder, the smell of horse sweat and the damp dark of the hard-rock mine” influence his music, along with his philosophy of “God first, family second, then the music.”
Topping off Wyo Wild Ride’s cowboy culture is the beautiful talented Trinity Seely, whose love of tradition and years of serious working ranch experience across the West pours heart-meaningful words from gut level to saturate her original melodies in the honey smoothness of her unique voice. The Western Music Association and Academy of Western Artists call her a champion . . . you can decide for yourself while listening to her at 10 am Sunday, just ahead of the Ranch Horse Sale.
Don’t miss a minute of this wild Western weekend – mark those calendars right now. Then give a head’s-up to your summer-visitor friends and relatives so they can plan it into their vacation. Meanwhile, keep up with every development by following facebook.com/WyoWildRideAndRanchRodeo. Or call Tiffany at North Four Mile Creek, LLC,(307) 670-7037 to learn more.
–Wyo Wild Ride