Winnemucca Ranch Hand Rodeo is the hot ticket for cowboy crowd

Jan 29, 2010
by WLJ

Sheree Tibbals has seen her fair share of horse events at the Winnemucca Events Complex in Winnemucca, NV.

An entire wall of her small fairgrounds office is covered with the pictures and trappings of more than 25 years of competitions.

“But this is the biggest one we do,” says the operations supervisor, handing over an action shot of a couple of cowboys trying to mug a cow. “Around these parts, this is as hot as it gets.”

The Winnemucca Ranch Hand Rodeo celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, and Tibbals agrees that over that time, the flagship event and its accompanying competitions have created a following that even she finds hard to believe.

“You should hear the calls we get—what people will do to try to get in.”

Some attempt to curry favor. Others get mad. Still others offer money—lots of money.

She laughs, “If I took those bribes, I’d be a rich woman.”

This year’s registration opened Dec. 18; Dec. 28, the books closed with 30 fiveperson teams and nearly a dozen more on a waiting list.

Dan Bratlie claims he just happened to be in town when the event registries opened; the “coincidence” ensured that his team, Anipro, was the first to register.

Whether they’ll be the first team to walk away in Ranch Hand Rodeo Championship jackets remains to be seen.

“Oh I don’t know,” he chuckles, noting that the team, made up of Anipro dealers and customers, is mostly interested in promoting Anipro, a feed supplement.

Still, Bratlie concedes, it would be nice to finally make good on his Calcutta bid.

Tibbals says it’s that way for most teams. They come from across Nevada, California, Idaho and Oregon to vie for over $20,000 in prizes and enough bragging rights to last until the 2011 competition.

“But mostly it’s about fun,” said Tibbals. “Winning this competition says you’re good in the arena, and you know your stuff on the ranch, but it’s also a great way to escape the winter doldrums and get back to doing the things you love.”

This year’s Ranch Hand Rodeo will take place Saturday, March 6, and Sunday, March 7. The entire Ranch Hand Rodeo Weekend will kick off Wednesday, March 3, with the Winnemucca Cow Dog Trials.

The addition completes the weekend that also includes the up-and-coming Ranch, Rope and Performance Horse Sale, Stock Horse Challenge, Cow Dog Trials, Western Trade Show, and Kids’ Dummy Roping and Stick Horse Barrels.

All events take place indoors in the Winnemucca Event Center, the heart of Winnemucca’s Events Center Complex.

The Winnemucca Ranch Hand Rodeo will get underway with the Calcutta auction of ranch hand teams at 10 a.m. Saturday morning, March 6. Competition will get underway at 11 a.m. and resume at 10 a.m. Sunday morning, March 7.

While all the Ranch Hand Rodeo spots are filled, there are still plenty of opportunities to participate in other events during the 2010 Winnemucca Ranch Hand Rodeo weekend. For more information, please visit Entry forms and official rules are available online. Information is also available by calling the office at 775/623- 5071 or 800/962-2638. — WLJ