Despite a sharp shrill in the air, the sun peaked through clouds, and day-earlier showers made for ideal arena conditions as 76 cowboys representing 19 ranches from throughout eastern Kansas gathered for hot competition at the 27th annual Fall Ranch Rodeo in Council Grove.
“There were a number of teams who have competed and won in statewide and national ranch rodeo events, and the winners were not determined until the final event was completed,” according to Clay Wilson, president of the Morris County Youth Rodeo Association, rodeo sponsor.
Activities kicked off Sunday morning at the Youth Ranch Rodeo with seven teams entered, with most of the riders’ dads on hand for the afternoon adult competition.
In the youth division, there were three-member ranch teams, and cowgirls almost matched cowboys in numbers, but all were 13 years of age and under, with the total of team members’ ages not surpassing 36.
Championship engraved breast collars when to the Lone Pine Ranch team from Chase County. Mackenize Higgs, Carly Potter and Colton Potter won both the calf branding and ribbon roping divisions, and ranked fourth in team penning.
Second place team was the Mudcats Ranch threesome of Blaine Hinricks, Cade Pearson and Sadie Pearson from Lyon County, who placed second in both calf branding and ribbon roping, and third in team penning.
The Johnson Ranch from Dwight placed third with riders Chancey Johnson, Kylie Adams and Trey Adams ranking second in team penning, and fourth in calf branding.
Paddy Creek Ranch of Wilsey was the fourth place team with Shyanne Allen, Blaine Fillmore and Jim Gant placing first in team penning, and fifth in calf branding.
Championship honors in the afternoon competition, the oldest continuous ranch rodeo in the state, went to McGhee Cattle Company of Greeley in Anderson County.
The ranch team composed of Les McGhee, Maurice Ball, Travis Kopf and Keith Morrell placed first in steer branding, second in both team penning and team roping, as well as ninth in double mugging, en route to the biggest payback check of the rodeo, along with heavy engraved trophy breast collars.
Riding for the Rezac Ranch of Onaga were Jay Rezac, Russell Rezac, Bradey James and Corey Lundberg to place second overall. They were second in double mugging, third in steer branding, fifth in team penning and eighth in team roping.
Third place team was Lonesome Pine Ranch from Chase County with the cowboys including Bud Higgs, Troy Higgs, Chris Potter and Brian Peak.
The home-county team of Paddy Creek Ranch from Wilsey came in fourth overall with Bruce Gant, Nick Allen, Bailey Allen and Isaac Carr as riders.
An added feature at this year’s rodeo was a calf scramble with 55 youth nine years of age and under getting a dollar bill for participation, and five dollar bills went to the three youngsters who pulled ribbons off calves’ tails.