Ranch rodeo at Black Hills Roundup a rip-roaring good time
The Black Hills Roundup Ranch Rodeo, Belle Fourche, S.D., was held on July 3, and was a roaring success with a huge crowd in attendance. A perfect evening with clear skies and a light breeze made it pleasant for all.
Ten teams vied for first place saddles and substantial prize money, for a total of 40 top hands who gave it their all and put on a good show.
The Ranch Rodeo opened with the arrival of a chuck wagon and bedwagon, pulled by ranch teams, and the introduction of the Longhorn cows and calves that had been trailed to the rodeo ground through downtown Belle Fourche late that afternoon. The national anthem and the presentation of Old Glory by Miss Rodeo South Dakota set the mood for the ranch rodeo.
With five events that showcased many day-to-day ranch jobs, spectators, including ranch folks and city folks alike, were shown how it can be done using horses, ropes and manpower. Winning the Branding event was the team from Black Hills Tractor/Santa Maria Ranch with a 40.25 second run. The Sorting was won by Ward Ranch with a 30.91 second run. The Wild Cow Milking, a crowd pleaser due to the horns and attitudes of the Longhorn cows used, was won by Black Hills Tractor/Santa Maria Ranch team with an incredible 37.13 second time. Stray Gathering was won by St. Onge Livestock team with a 1.322 time. The Ranch Bronc Riding was won by Runaway Livestock with a well earned 94 point score by Erik Wolford.
The overall winner was St. Onge Livestock’s team of Clint Humble, Clete Schmidt, Kirk Schuelke and Casey Humble. Consistency was their key to winning as they racked up solid score after solid score. In the Ranch Bronc Riding, Casey Humble pulled a 91 point ride off. The win brought the team $4,000 plus a beautiful saddle sponsored by Bismarck Ranch and Belle Fourche Livestock Exchange.
Second place was Slim Buttes Boys, who again used consistency throughout to make the grade. That team was Clint Doll, Ty Thybo, Jay Olson and Ryan Bowden. They split a check for $2,400.
Third place and $1,800 went to Black Hills Tractor/Santa Maria Ranch team of Josh Manke, Brandon Kudlock, Curt Westland and Brent Fox. Fox was the bronc rider for the team and though he had a stirrup knocked off his foot as his bronc left the chute, put on a great bronc ride despite it for a score of 82 points. Although a reride was offered, he chose to hold tough with his 82 point sure thing rather than take a chance on bucking off of the tough broncs in the pen.
The coveted Top Hand award went to Erik Wolford from the Runaway Ranch team and Top Horse went to Zack Steele from the White Ranch/Geo. E. White Foundation team.
The top four Ranch Bronc riders were invited to ride again during the Saturday July 6, performance of the PRCA rodeo and Casey Humble from the St. Onge Livestock team won that.
The stock throughout the rodeo was excellent, with the cows in the Wild Cow Milking fitting the description to a “T.” They put up a fight and added a sense of danger to the event with their keen horns, though no one was injured directly by a horn. The Ranch Broncs were some of the tough Schmidt string of broncs and they bucked high, wide and handsome to challenge the cowboys to ride their toughest. The fact that the good hands would fan them with their hats didn’t indicate that the horses were weak by any means and added to the bronc rides considerably. Three scores in the 90’s spoke of the quality of the broncs and the cowboys.
The ranch rodeo was well managed and deserves recognition for being the quality event it is with the well enforced rules that protect the livestock from unnecessarily rough treatment, though the cowboys are definitely on their own and take a lot of lumps and bumps during the event.