Ranch Hand Rodeo weekend a winner
The Ranch Hand Rodeo weekend certainly lived up to its reputation as Winnemucca’s biggest event.
Four very competitive events joined with the already hot Ranch Hand Rodeo from Feb. 26 through March 1, and Winnemucca Convention and Visitors Authority Marketing and Sales Coordinator Michelle Urain said she couldn’t have been more pleased with the results.
“All the events were amazing,” said Urain. “We had very good entry numbers, very good attendance, an exce excellent horse sale, and the dog trials were the best they’ve ever been.” In fact, Urain said more than 1,000 people packed the stands just for the Winnemucca Cow Dog Trial on Thursday. “It was phenomenal,” she said of the event that drew 52 canine athletes to the arena. “It exceeded all our numbers from the past.” Urain said word is spreading about Winnemucca’s competition. Plus, this year’s event was sanctioned by the United States Border Collie Handler’s Association, a designation she said worked in Winnemucca’s favor as well. For the third year in a row, Ambrose McAuliffe and “Rebel” were awarded top honors in the Open Pro Class while Tom Blasdell and “Kate” drew top honors in the Ranch Class.
Another great event, the Winnemucca Stock Horse Challenge, crowned “Bunny,” owned by Tammy Lee, the High Point Horse for 2009, while Flint Lee took home honors as the High Point Rider.
Other first-place winners included: Open Snaffle Bit/ Hackamore - Fairlea Hot Pic, owned and ridden by Hanes Holman; Open Two Rein/Bridle - Como Trigger Chex, owned by Bob and Ann Britton, ridden by Flint Lee; Non-Pro Snaffle Bit/ Hackamore - Buddy, owned and ridden by Kenny Lee; and Non-Pro Two Rein/Bridle - Bunny, owned and ridden by Tammy Lee. The Winnemucca Ranch, Rope and Performance Horse Sale also did its part for the stellar weekend. The competition saw more than 60 horses pass through the ring with an overall average of horses sold of $3,000; the top 10 average of horses sold was $6,000.
Saturday’s high selling horse was Blues Little Badger, consigned by Dallen Spencer of Malta, ID, which sold to Charleeann Woodland of Cambridge, ID, for $16,000.
Urain said the competition continues to be a mainstay for the weekend with help from some great publicity following last year’s event as well as electronic conveniences such as a new online catalog.
A western trade show was open from Thursday through Sunday, also at the indoor event center. Urain said over 60 vendors participated, with most reporting having done very well. “People were buying a lot,” she said, adding, “Our vendors were very happy.”
But the highlight of the entire weekend, of course, was the 20th anniversary of the Winnemucca Ranch Hand Rodeo. A Calcutta got things started Saturday morning, Feb. 28, with the rodeo competition following Saturday and Sunday, March 1. This year drew 33 fourman/one-woman teams whose mission it was to outdo the competition in seven events, including saddle bronc riding, cow mugging, calf roping, team branding, team roping, ranch doctoring and women’s steer stopping. Each team competed in all the events; women had to compete in steer stopping and cow mugging.
Following fierce competition, it was the Mackenzie Ranch team out of Jordan Valley, OR, that walked away with $6,054. Rod Owens was the lucky winner of this year’s Calcutta, taking home $4,753.
“We had a great time,” said Urain of the weekend that drew well over 2,000 people to the Winnemucca Event Center. “It was busy and fun and exciting to see all those people coming into Winnemucca when economic forecasts said that couldn’t happen—but it did for us.” Urain said the weekend went smoothly and no large changes are in store for next year’s event. “Let’s just say bigger and better,” she said of plans for 2010. “We’re always looking to improve, and we’ve got a great product to begin with.” For more information on the Winnemucca Ranch Hand Rodeo weekend, which was held from Thursday, Feb. 26 through Sunday, March 1 at the Winnemucca Event Center, please visit www.ranchrodeonv.com or call the Winnemucca Convention and Visitors Authority at 775/623-5071 or 800/962-2638. — WLJ