St. Onge Livestock team wins BH Roundup Ranch Rodeo
August 25, 2014
The Fifth Annual Black Hills Roundup Ranch Rodeo was held at the historic Roundup arena in Belle Fourche, S.D., on July 3. The evening kicked off with the grand entry, led by a team and chuckwagon, and introduction of the 10 ranch teams. The calcutta of the teams and the bronc riders drew spirited bidding from the large crowd. Old Glory was presented and the national anthem rang through the grandstands with every person at attention.
The ranch rodeo began at 7 p.m. with perfect weather and a light breeze. The five events were Branding, Sorting, Wild Cow Milking, Stray Gathering and Bronc Riding.
The first event was a team effort with two ropers and two men on the ground to "brand" the calves. Each of the ropers had to bring two calves to the "fire" and the calves had to be returned to the bunch. Several of the well-armed longhorn cows followed their calves out of the bunch and thought seriously about rescuing their calves, but were turned back by the riders at the line. Winning the branding was the Ward Ranch with a time of 1.11. Rahn Performance Horses was a close second with a 1.15.
The team sorting had all four team members horseback with one doing the cutting. A number was called and starting with that heifer, the next two consecutive numbers had to be brought out to join her. The team work of the cowboys and horses made the sorting go fairly smoothly, though some of the heifers were less cooperative than others and several tried to return to the bunch, which brought lots of warning from the crowd. Winning the sorting was TC Outfit, with a score of 48 seconds, with Bismarck Ranch coming in a close second with a 58 second run.
The Wild Cow Milking was the most exciting event, as the cows were all longhorns with very ample horns and no intention of cooperating with a bunch of cowboys that needed a little milk in a bottle. None of the cows cooperated in the least, but the cow that Nixon Ranch drew was particularly uncooperative. She totally wiped out the whole ground crew multiple times, butted the horse, kicked mugger Myles Bierema repeatedly, from one end to the other, and used team bronc rider Erik Wolford as a bullseye for her charges. After all the mauling of cowboys, tearing of shirts and peeling of skin, it turned out that the cow was dry! After a tussle to get their rope off of her, she was turned loose while the judges conferred about the situation. The cowboys were given a moment to change shirts, seeing as how it's a family event and showing that much skin isn't the cowboy way, and then were issued a "re-milk." They had barely caught their breath when a new cow was turned into the arena, and though she shared the same attitude as the previous draw, she did at least have a nice bag and plenty of milk. That tough team came up with a score of 1.30 on their re-milk, and drew a standing ovation from the crowd for their efforts. Winning the Wild Cow Milking was the White Ranch with a 34.50, with St. Onge Livestock coming in second with a 43.94. if an award was given for "Hard Luck Cowboys", the Nixon team would have been the clear winners.
Stray Gathering has each team split into two sets of headers/heelers. There are two yearlings turned into the arena and the two sets of ropers must get them roped and tied down, with the yearling staying tied for six seconds. The big, juicy heifers were fast and even when headed, hard to heel as they were fresh and wouldn't set. There was a lot of effort put into tailing them down and getting them tied as well as getting them tied tight enough to stay tied for the time allotted. Winning the event was Slim Buttes Boys with a 1.21, while second was Bismarck Ranch with a 1.30.
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The final event was the Ranch Bronc Riding, with the bronc rider using his own saddle and it's no-holds-barred rules. The object is to get the horse ridden for the eight seconds, and the flashier the better. Considering that every one of the bronc riders was about used up from the other events, they put on tremendous rides on fresh, young broncs provided by Schmidts. The big, stout, grass fat horses really fired and were hard to ride. Winning the bronc riding with style, which included a cloud of flour as he left the chute and the fanning of his bronc toward the end of his ride, was Casey Humble. He scored a well deserved 89 points on the big gray. Tyrell Thybo of the Slim Buttes Boys also drew a rank gray horse and rode him to a score of 86 points.
Nixon Ranch team member Erik Wolford, Colony, Wyo., was still walking sound after the rodeo despite the mauling of the cow in the Wild Cow Milking and a rank bronc in the bronc riding. When asked his thoughts on the rodeo, he said, "We had a good team, we just came up short. They're all guys we brand with every spring and work with every year. They're all really good cowboys." His girlfriend showed some pictures of his back, which was liberally adorned with cowtracks and scrapes. She said his chest had some too, but he wouldn't let her show them, and said with a grin, "They're just some cow tracks. Nothing too bad." His thoughts on the bronc riding were positive as he had an 80 point ride, and said "The broncs were just perfect."
The Ranch Rodeo adhered to established rules and treated the stock well while putting on a great show and demonstration of the cowboy way of doing things for the record crowd. It's one of the very best ranch rodeos in the region and well worth the trip.
Top Hand: Casey Humble, Faith, S.D.
Top Horse: Kola, owned and ridden by Vern Ward, Fruitdale, S.D.
1: St. Onge Livestock (for the second year in a row): Clete Schmidt, Clint Humble, Casey Humble and Colt Haines.
2: Slim Buttes Boys: Clint Doll, Tyrel Thybo, Jay Olson and Ryan Bowden.
3: Bismarck Ranch: Neal Wanless, Lane Lamphere, Tee Ridley and Joe Smeenk.