Within the classic sport of rodeo lies a traditional core going back to its traditional roots. Ranch rodeos draw not professional sportsmen and women but working cowboys in events designed to test their skills in every day ranch life.
It’s a relatively new addition to this sport, still growing in public awareness, but one that recognizes the working cowboy at its heart.
“Ranch rodeos are not commonly heard of and very few are produced,” said Renee Duman, Two Bar V Livestock Ranch.
The ranch sponsored its first rodeo in September 2017. According to Duman, the interest here is to reach the traditional competitor: full-time ranch hands and not the professional cowboys.
“As cattle generations and years go by, you see more ground not being put into pasture, ATV's in replace of horses, chute branding instead of pasture roping and many more changes,” Duman said. “There are very few ranches that use the "John Wayne" full-time ranch cowboys to keep their livestock production working. This ranch rodeo production gathers teams of cowboys and cowgirls from different ranches all over the western states to compete against each other in events that are based on work they perform every day as a ranch hand.”
According to Duman, ranch rodeos differ from the more common PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association)-style rodeos in several ways.
For starters, contestants are not professional rodeo cowboys. Instead, they are usually full-time ranch hands who compete in annual ranch rodeos for fun and for bragging rights. The events in ranch rodeos are more similar to the tasks commonly performed on a ranch, and the equipment and tack used are the same as those used during everyday ranch work.
“The ranch rodeo is not tied in with a professional circuit like any typical rodeos you spectate at,” Duman said. “Ranch rodeo cowboys and cowgirls are definite different types of competitors than regular rodeo cowboy and cowgirls. The caliber of horses the competitor rides is another ball park that distinguishes the different rodeo productions.”
“When we hosted the September 2017 event, we didn't advertise much to public, just because we were just getting our feet in the water,” Duman said. “The main thing we considered in hosting the event was to make sure we had a good entertainment value for the community to spectate at. I look at it if you have a singer who couldn't carry a tune better than my dog, why go see that singer in a concert? Same thing with a rodeo. If you can't provide good competitors and entertainment, why put on the production?”
“Now we have our feet wet,” she continued, “and feel confident in producing an event that the community shouldn't miss, and should have it marked on their calendars. We plan to host another event Sept. 29th.”
Why is this important, personally, for Duman?
“I have always been fond of cowboy lifestyles,” she said.
“Over a course of years growing up and having a job that allows me to capture still photographs in the cowboy lifestyle, being surrounded by many trainers, livestock producers,” she continued, “I know it takes a fine hand to make a finish bridle horse and it takes athletic ability and art to rope in any obstacles present. I like to see all class of cowboys and cowgirls with the caliber of horses perform. Each individual -- human and equine – has its own ability to do what it takes to get the job done. Watching a cow-breed horse work cattle and a cowboy handle a 60-foot rope with grace is something else.”
Hosting this event brings those from traditional vaquero cowboys to John Wayne cowboys to compete, according to Duman. The ranch gives out a Top Hand and Top Horse award for the best of the best who compete in this rodeo. Additionally, the event is free for spectators to attend, giving families and the local community something to enjoy. Donations are accepted to help with production costs.
“I personally know how the money tree feels when you have four kids and are trying to go to an event to enjoy,” she said. “Leave some leaves on the tree and come enjoy the free production as cowboys and their equine friends demonstrate everyday ranch work.”
The Sept. 29 rodeo will be at the Two Bar V Livestock Arena west of Greencreek off U.S. Highway 95, starting at 10 a.m. For information and updates, follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/twobarvlivestock/
Four competitors will make up one team, and 12 total teams will be competing for bragging rights, along with a paycheck and numerous awards. Trailer loading, branding, team sorting, pasture doctoring, and a relay hide race will be the five events, in which all 12 teams will compete, and with $1,000 added money. Guidelines for competitors to know: no roughing of the stock, no tie down -- runnin’ martingales, slick horn (no rubber), 50-foot rope (minimum), and ride at your own risk.