Black Hills Stock Show: Top ranch hands compete in Ranch Rodeo
One of the most popular events at the Black Hills Stock Show (BHSS) is back again this year with some new events. The Ranch Rodeo will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 1 at the Civic Center Arena with the qualifying round starting at 9 a.m. The finals will be held that evening at 7:30 p.m.
“The Ranch Rodeo is entertaining like a regular rodeo, but it has a different twist to it,” explains Kevin Schmidt, who is the chairman of the event. “A lot of people like to come and watch their family members compete. It is one of the stock show’s largest events. You will see some of best ranch hands in the region come here to compete.”
Schmidt anticipates 30-40 teams will compete in this year’s event. Teams of four come from South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, Minnesota and Wyoming to compete for prize money and awards given to the winners. Awards are also presented for the Top Hand and Top Horse.
During the preliminary competition, teams will compete in three events. In the first event, steer loading, contestants will load numbered stock cattle into a stock trailer in the arena. The second event will be range doctoring where two ropers, a doctor, and a man on the ground must sort out numbered cattle held at one end of the arena, herd them across a time line, rope them and give them a simulated vaccination.
The final morning event will be stray gathering. According to Schmidt, four team members have to catch two numbered animals and tie a pair of legs up on each of them. The object is to tie the bottom front leg and the top hind leg of the steer. “All the team members can assist in the tying of the animal, but they can’t all help with the roping of the animal. In fact, we set up this event so two different team members have to rope the animals, so we don’t have one team member roping both animals,” he explains. The strays will be either a Corriente or Longhorn roping steer, and a commercial yearling beef steer.
At the end of the preliminary round, the top nine teams with the fastest times, along with last year’s top three teams, will compete in the Ranch Rodeo Finals that evening.
During the finals, teams will compete in a trailer relay race; rope, mug and tie; cow milking; double mugging; and the Crown Royal Ranch Bronc ride.
During the Titan Trailer Relay Race, four team members will load their horses in a stock trailer in the arena, shut the gate and climb into the cab of the pickup. At the signal, they will unload their horses. The first rider will race around the arena, hand off his baton to the second rider, then load his horse back into a second trailer. The second, third and fourth riders will perform the same tasks. Once every rider has loaded their horse into the trailer, they will climb into the pickup and flash their headlights to signal time.
“This event is a real horse race,” Schmidt says. “It is a real crowd pleaser. It gets everyone’s blood pumping.”
In the rope, mug and tie event, the team has to sort off their numbered steer, rope it, bulldog it and tie three legs on it. The steer must stay tied for six seconds. There is a two minute time limit on this event.
During the cow milking contest, each team is required to team rope a Corriente cow and milk it. The cow has to be standing while she is being milked. The milker then has to remove the heel rope and take it and the bottle of milk to show the judge.
During the Crown Royal Ranch Bronc ride, the horses will be saddled and flanked in a chute. The saddle will be a stock saddle, rather than a bronc saddle. Once out of the chute, the rider is required to ride the bronc for six seconds. A team member mounted on a horse will catch the bucking horse as quickly as possible, and the other team members must snub up the horse and help the rider unsaddle it in the arena. Schmidt says this year, three broncs will be let out of the chute at the same time.
Schmidt encourages the public to attend the event. “It is the best deal because you can come and watch your neighbor compete in this,” he says. “It is not a rodeo, but it is a ranch rodeo. It is a fun, exciting event featuring some of the best ranch hands in the country. It is their night to shine.”
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