The defending champion FWDP team – comprised of Ross Davidson of Ponteix, Shawn Francis of Zehner, and Riley Pritchard and Chris Williamson of Mankota – overcame a three-point deficit in the final event to earn their second set of championship saddles.
The rodeo, held Saturday at the Ron Winquist Arena, featured cowboys and cowgirls from across Southern Saskatchewan.
The Ranch Rodeo is a competition featuring four-person teams vying against each other in timed events.
The cowboys and their horses completed a series of events that showcased the necessary skills needed to operate a ranch. The ranch rodeo events require the same teamwork ranch hands use in their everyday lives.
Events included Wild Cow Milking, Trailer Loading, Calf Branding, Team Doctoring (simulated activities), and a Wild Horse Race. The teams earned points based on their finish in each of the five events, with the overall champion determined by an accumulated score. The teams were easily distinguished as they wore matching colour shirts.
The FWDP team enjoyed a healthy lead for most of the day and seemed poised to reclaim their title. But a hiccup on the second last event – when the team failed to register a single point in the trailer loading competition – put the final outcome in question.
The Horton Livestock crew – including Harold Geiger of Swift Current, Daryl Gold of Maple Creek, Cody Thomson of Cypress Hills and Aaron Gordon (formerly of Eastend but now living near Maple Creek – held a 32 points to 29 points lead over FWDP heading into the final competition, the highly entertaining Wild Cow Milking event. But the Horton team couldn’t hold on to their advantage and ultimately finished in second place. They earned a set of ropes for their strong showing.
A local team – comprised of members of the rodeo committee – finished in third place. The team included Curtis Jacob, Mike Lewans, Jaret Girodat and Dustin Monson. The Shaunavon squad thrilled the crowd with a dominating performance in the Wild Cow Milking event, winning with a time of just over 40 seconds.
Other teams competing in the event (in order of finish) included FA7 Ranch, White Ranches, Hammond Cattle Co., Instow Reclamation, Abbott Realty, That’ll Happen and Condor.
Three hide races – a mini relay of sorts that saw competitors dragged by horses on a carpet-like belt across the arena and back were needed to break 9th place, 7th place and 5th place ties.
The hide once again proved to be an entertaining way to finish off the afternoon of fun and excitement.
All of the teams gathered in the arena for the presentation of prizes at the conclusion of the hide races.
This year’s rodeo also featured a choring event in the morning that drew four entries. The event saw a teamster and his team of heavy horses maneuvering through a course of obstacles that included tasks that they would encounter during their regular working day.
Finishing in top spot in the choring event was Chris Bertram of Bracken. Marty Bertram was second – two points behind his dad – while Brian Stevenson was third.
The Ranch Rodeo, celebrating its 4th year – once again turned out to be a treat for both the participating cowboys and the large crowd of spectators who turned out for the event.
All of the 10 teams competing in the event showed great skill and excellent sportsmanship.
The loyal fans in the stands also displayed some terrific enthusiasm and spirit as they cheered on their favourite teams under some less than ideal weather conditions. The rodeo, being held for the first time in June, endured some overcast skies, a few intermittent showers and blustery wind conditions.
Still, overall, organizers were extremely pleased with how things turned out.
“We thought the day went pretty great,” said Nikolina Jacob. “Everything went very smoothly, other than the weather for a bit. But that’s good old Saskatchewan for you. At least there was no hail or tornadoes.”
“We had fantastic fans,” she added. “They were coming to watch a rodeo, no matter what the weather was like, and they did. As for our competitors – they are ranchers used to working in all weather conditions, so I guess what is playing in a little bit of mud. Hats off to them, too.”
The ranch rodeo promotes the unique history and the western lifestyle of the prairies by featuring competition between real cowboys from real working Saskatchewan ranches.
Several kid events – such as a stick pony race and wild ewe milking – were also held during the intermission.
The winning wild ewe milking team included Ty Franklin, Declan Hanson, Slade Bjornson and Rhett Franklin. They won buckles for their performance.
Local volunteers on the ranch rodeo organizing committee include Curtis Jacob, Nikolina Jacob, Mike Lewans, Jen Lewans, Jaret Girodat, Ricki Girodat and Dustin Monson.
Judges for the ranch rodeo were Kelly Ashdown of Herbert and Mario Dordu of Shaunavon. Wilf Legros of Cadillac served as the judge of the choring event. Ritchie Van Allen of Shaunavon was the arena director and Don Peacock of Maple Creek was the announcer. Dr. Ted Dupmeier provided veterinary services and Michelle Hansen opened the event by singing the national anthem.
A crowd of about 320 people attended this year’s rodeo.
“Thanks so much to each and every person who came and helped make this year’s rodeo another success,” said Jacob.