Five-event cowgirl competition to memorialize Ethel Whitcher
Shake out a loop and get your trail horse ready! The Ethel Whitcher Memorial is including a new challenge, the EWM Iron Cowgirl, which involves barrel racing, single steer sorting, goat tying, breakaway roping, and a trail course. The Iron Cowgirl will be nestled in on Saturday, during the entire event next weekend Oct. 18 to 20, which also includes a $1,000 added open 5D barrel race Friday and team roping on Sunday. Amanda Richardson with Cloverleaf Productions is co-hosting the event at the James Kjerstad Event Center in Rapid City with Jim and Pam Tiltrum, owners of Triple R Tack.
“Ethel was an iron cowgirl, a rancher’s wife,” Richardson said. “She trained a lot of young horses and was someone who could do it all. I wanted to do a memorial that represented that.”
Twenty to 30 cowgirls will compete in up to two rounds of each portion, and if they’re not pleased with their first round, they can compete again. Sort of like a reride option in bronc riding. Contestants must, however, take the second time if they opt to try their hand again.
“If you have a really good barrel run and are happy with that, you don’t have to compete,” Richardson said. “If you break a barrier in the breakaway in the first round and get a 14.2, then decide to go again and get a no-time the second time around, you end up taking the 60-second time.”
The 10 fastest cumulative times will return to the short round after being auctioned in the calcutta between the preliminary and short rounds.
The Iron Cowgirl has $1,500 added and a custom Triple R saddle on the line as well as other prizes. Winners of the short round events will be awarded cash.
The same horse need not be used for all five events, but the Tiltrums will award one horse used heavily and successfully in multiple events as super horse.
Most of the five events are relatively common. Single steer sorting, however, is an uncommon twist which requires cowgirls to sort a particular steer out of a herd and push it back across the line. “Trash” or extra cattle that also cross the line will result in a 30-second penalty. The trail course will also be timed.
The event is sponsored by Triple R Tack, Equibrand, the family of Ethel Whitcher, Branding Impressions, and Irish Pay. F
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood for the June 19, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News