The Outside Circle: Fundraisers, clinics and Ranch Rodeo commentary
Lots of country to cover today, so let’s hit a long trot.
Don’t forget the memorial benefit for the family of A.J. Franzen on Feb. 19, 6 p.m. at the Archer Complex, Cheyenne, WY. Just take Exit 370 off of I-80 and you’ll be there. Friends are trying to raise money to help A.J.’s wife and young family since his death in December following a car accident. There’s going to be a silent and live auction; check it out at http://www.talkrodeo.org. I’m sure arrangements can be made to bid on items even if you can’t be there. Auction items you want to donate can be sent to Tom Wilson Welding & Machine, 1635 W 19th St, Cheyenne, WY 82001. Cash donations can be sent to First Interstate Bank, A.J. Franzen Memorial Fund, 4612 Rue Terre, Cheyenne, WY 82009.
Another benefit is coming up to help a cowboy friend, Tim Haugen, Elm Springs, SD, who is undergoing cancer treatments. There will be a chili feed and auction on March 5 at Wall, SD. I don’t have a lot of other details, but you can call Terry Tenes 605-798-2111 or Tyler Haugen at 605-347-0066 for more info. I hope to have more information next week and fill in the details.
Said goodbye for now to another old friend this week. Onalee Hoffman, 81, Belle Fourche, SD passed from this life on Feb. 3. Onalee was a gifted lady in so many ways. In her retirement years she finally had time to write, both poetry and literature. Her books are treasures of wit and history. She grew up in the Wasta country, a tough and handy ranch girl, then married a wild cowboy named Walt Hoffman and raised a family on ranches in that region. Her kids are Rod (Rhonda) Hoffman, Belle Fourche; Chris (Cliff) Crago, Belle Fourche; J.B. Hoffman, Belle Fourche; Dawn (Wilbur) Newland, Belle Fourche; and Kathy (Ted) Thompson, Whitewood, SD. She is also survived by two brothers, 24 grandkids and 30 great grandkids. She was quite a lady and she will be missed. Dear Onalee, we never had to wonder what you meant by what you said!
On April 2-3 there will be a Paul Humphrey Barrel Clinic in Aberdeen, SD. Humphrey trained futurity horses in Italy for many years with great success and is now training out of his home in Texas. He has two successful DVDs called Winning Runs. He stresses good basic horsemanship in the clinics. You’re welcome to come and watch if you can’t bring a horse, too. Deadline to sign up is March 1 and you can e-mail email@example.com for more information.
You can start saving your egg money for the 2011 Buster McLaury colt starting and horsemanship clinic, too. Brad Andrews called me today and said it will be the first week of August at his ranch home near Red Owl, SD. Good place to go where you will not hear the rumble of motorcycles from the Rally.
I’m going to ride off into some rough country now, and I will probably make someone mad with what I want to talk about. So, here goes. I took in the qualifying rounds of the Ranch Rodeo at the Stock Show. I always enjoy seeing good horses and hands, so was tickled to be there. I sure enough did see good horses and hands, lots of them, matter of fact.
What I also saw was some really rough handling of livestock by some of the participants. At no ranch I’ve ever worked on, and certainly not at our place, would the boss allow cattle to be handled in such a manner. I personally would invite a hand to load their horse in the trailer in which they arrived and go home if my cattle were ever handled that way.
Before you get all fuzzed up, think about this: The Ranch Rodeo event is a public venue. Anyone who could buy a ticket could go and watch. Do you really want someone who is unknowledgeable of the cattle business and cowboying to think that this is how we handle our cattle on a day-to-day basis? I sure don’t. Believe you me, if we don’t represent ourselves to the public in the best light, it will come back to haunt us. Unless there are rules put in place to regulate the handling of the cattle in ranch rodeos (like there are in rodeo), someone else is going to step in and do it for us. Organizations like PETA and HSUS just love getting something like that on video so they can shut down events like ranch rodeos.
I’ve attended ranch rodeos quite a lot over the years and at all levels. There are standards that can be held to for cattle handling which makes it a great event to watch, plus doesn’t cripple or ruin any cattle. An example of such are WRCA (Working Ranch Cowboys Association) sanctioned ranch rodeos. I’ve never seen cattle handled roughly at any of those events, so I know it can be done.
I’m not saying that all of the teams that were in the Ranch Rodeo handled the cattle poorly. I really enjoyed watching the hands who were able to do an event quickly without undue stress on the cattle. I would call them “hands,” not just cowboys. There is a difference.
Ranch Rodeo is a challenging event to regulate, but I know it can be done. Perhaps the rules used in the WRCA-sanctioned events could be implemented for the Black Hills Stock Show (BHSS) Ranch Rodeo. It works for them, so it should work for unsanctioned events. Maybe the WRCA would sanction the BHSS event, making it a qualifying ranch rodeo for the WRCA finals in Amarillo, TX in the fall, thereby bringing the rules in with the event.
I personally think there were just too many teams entered (53, I heard) for the allotted time and it had to run too fast. That fast pace spills over into the mindset of the competitors and it just gets out of hand. If limiting the entries and setting up some rules on cattle handling can keep Ranch Rodeo on the schedule at the Stock Show, that’s great. If something doesn’t change, some animal rights group will shut it down, plain and simple.
I’m not trying to start a fight here, I’m actually trying to keep ranch rodeos going. If we don’t govern ourselves, someone else will, plain and simple. I’d rather a ranch rodeo committee write up the rules for the events than some high-priced lawyer on the payroll of an animal rights organization, wouldn’t you?
Well, now that I have some of you nice people mad at me, I think I’ll ride off this ol’ ridge so you can’t get a clear shot at me. I ask you to think about what I said though. I could be right.
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