Beautiful fall conditions enhanced the Western action as 14 four-cowboy-member ranch teams from throughout the Flint Hills and beyond made tough competition for the 29th annual Fall Invitational Ranch Rodeo sponsored by the Morris County Youth Rodeo Association Sunday afternoon at Council Grove.
With overnight dew making excellent arena footing at starting time, a morning youth event combined with afternoon encounters of all total more than five dozen mounted ranchers and the bovine of their pursuit, a bit of dust in the air had to settle before the Lonesome Pine Ranch was proclaimed champion team.
Headquartered at Cedar Point, the Chase County team of Bud Higgs, Troy Higgs, Travis Duncan and Chris Potter bested the second place McGhee Ranch team from Greeley in Anderson County by just one point.
However, en route to the title win, Lonesome Pine was second in both the double mugging and team roping, with all four team members showing their roping skills to get a time in their runs of that event. The team ranked fourth in team penning, and placed sixth in steer branding.
McGhee Ranch placed first in double mugging, ranked third in steer branding, came in fifth in team roping, also with a time on two runs, and was sixth in team penning.
Third place team was Rezac Land & Cattle from Onaga, with Stock & Diamond E from Redfield placing fourth.
There was a tie for fifth place team between the Johnson Ranch of Dwight and Paddy Creek & C-Bar Ranch of Wilsey.
Stock & Diamond E won the team penning event, and Johnson Ranch was first in steer branding.
Champion team in the Sunday morning Junior Ranch Rodeo for cowboys and cowgirls 13 years of age and under was the Lonesome Pine Ranch including Pax Vogel, Cole Wilson, and Carlee Potter.
Highlight of the afternoon ranch rodeo was the mutton busting, actually sheep riding, for youth seven years and under, with 16 little cowboys and cowgirls trying their skills.
Interesting to note that the Lonesome Pine Ranch team won the Kansas Championship Ranch Rodeo a week earlier, qualifying for the World Championship Ranch Rodeo, November 12-15, in Amarillo, Texas.
However, because the Chase County team had previously qualified for the prestigious world event, the second place state team, Keith Cattle Company & Robbins Ranch from Allen in Lyon County, automatically qualifies to compete.
Justin Keith of that second place team rode his Quarter Horse called Patty’s Blue Valentine to collect the top horse award at the state event. The Keith Cattle Company & Robbins Ranch team was seventh in Sunday’s Council Grove rodeo.