Published 6/2/2012 in Local News
By ANGIE HAFLICH
As their dads competed in the calf branding competition Friday at the Beef Empire Days Ranch Rodeo, 8-year-old Coy Nix, his 3-year-old brother, Carson, and 5-year-old Rustin Gilmore practiced their own lassoing skills.
Brad Nading/Telegram Darrin Hill prepares to lasso a calf as a portion of one of the contests in the Beef Empire Days Ranch Rodeo Friday at the Finney County Fairgrounds arena. Hill is with a team from Pawnee Valley Feedyard, Hanston.
"We're acting like we're on the ranch. We have our boots and spurs and pants," Rustin said.
He later proved his skills by roping Carson around the legs, pulling him down onto some rocks outside the grandstand.
"We pretty much have our own ranch rodeo team right here," Coy and Carson's mom, Kelli Nix, said. "We just gotta grow them up a little more."
The boys' dads, Brandon Nix and Jake Gilmore, were on the Nix Cattle Co. team, one of about 14 teams that competed in the event held at the Finney County Fairgrounds.
Unlike a traditional rodeo, the Ranch Rodeo highlights all of the skills needed on a ranch. Events were calf branding, team doctoring, double mugging, trailer loading and team penning.
Teams consisted of four members, and in the branding event, one team member was a mounted roper, two were flankers and one was a brander.
In this event, the roper must rope a calf by its hind legs. The flankers then throw the calf down and restrain it, and then the brander brands it. This had to be done twice, within a two-minute timeframe.
In the trailer loading event, all four team members are on horseback and must find two numbered steers out of a herd, then direct them both across the arena and herd them into a trailer. They then load two of their horses onto the trailer, and the men finish by jumping on the back of the pickup. During this event, two steers managed to outsmart one team by simply running underneath the space in between the pickup and the trailer attached to it.
J.D. Jellison, team captain of A to Z Livestock, was riding a horse named Gustavo.
"We did better in the trailer loading. I think (a time of) 1:28. That's decent, average," he said.
The team took third place last year.
"We went to Jetmore here a couple of weeks ago and won third there," Jellison said. "We're looking decent."
In the team doctoring event, with all four members on horseback, a numbered steer must be located out of the herd, and then it is roped around the neck and one or two of its back feet. After they rope it, the remaining riders dismount and "doctor" the steer by applying a paint mark to his forehead.
Pawnee Valley Ranch's team readied themselves for this event as they watched other teams doing it.
Derrick St. Peter, who was on board a horse named Casino, said he thought they were doing OK but could be better. When asked what the group's best event is, he simply said, "The one yet to come."
Team doctoring was followed by stray gathering, in which two head of cattle are turned loose in the arena and the team members must head and heel both steers, tie them down and then once the second steer is tied, both steers must remain tied for eight seconds.
The winning team of each event is awarded $250, and in the overall rodeo, the first place prize is $2,070, second place is $860 and third place is $520.
Final results were not available Friday night. For complete results of the Ranch Rodeo, see Monday's Telegram.