Denton-area ranches competed Monday night in the annual ranch rodeo at the North Texas Fair and Rodeo.
Ranch rodeo differs from professional rodeo in that each event is a realistic simulation of everyday jobs performed by working ranch cowboys and their horses.
In team branding, calves are roped out of the herd and dragged across a chalk line to be untied and “branded” with chalk. Each team has to mark two calves to stop the clock.
Sikes Ranch posted the fastest time at 38.19 seconds, followed by Porter Ranch at 44.46. Placing third with a time of 100.56 was Calvert Ranch.
Team sorting is a task every ranch cowboy is familiar with, as one man rides into the herd and selectively cuts out individual cattle for shipping or other purposes. In the ranch rodeo version, the cattle are numbered on both hips and the teams are given a number. Starting with that number, the horsemen work together to separate four numbers, in order, from the herd.
Porter Ranch posted a 30.48 for the win, followed by Sikes at 127.57 and Gainesville Livestock in third place at 138.17.
In the maverick catch contest, a team of four cowboys must rope and tie a steer to stop the clock. The contest replicates catching and tying one in a pasture.
Reding Ranch was on its game, putting up a 39.05 for the win. Gainesville Livestock clocked in at 43.87 for second place, and third went to Ellis Ranch in 56.80.
Team doctoring is similar to maverick catch, but to stop the clock the team must rope a steer, dismount and remove both ropes. Ellis Ranch’s time of 34.02 was the easy winner, followed by Reding and Sikes.
Ranch bronc riding is a crowd favorite. Cowboys mount an unbroken horse — some of the same ones used in the professional rodeo — using a working ranch saddle. Unlike pro rodeo, cowboys are allowed to use both hands to stay aboard.
Open Range Cowboy Church put up a score of 76 for the win, followed by Ellis Ranch with a 75 and Calvert with a 73.
After tallying all the times and scores, the Sikes Ranch team scored 29 points overall to edge Ellis Ranch by one point.