Ranch rodeo designed to introduce sport to broader audience

Members of the ISU Rodeo Club have traveled across the Midwest to compete against other college cowboys and cowgirls in traditional rodeo competitions. A different kind of rodeo comes to Ames on Saturday to introduce the sport to a wider audience.

The club is hosting the first Ranch Rodeo Championship at the Hansen Agriculture Learning Center with competitors as young as 14 welcome to participate.

Ranch Rodeo

The Iowa Ranch Rodeo Championship starts at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Hansen Agriculture Learning Center. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. Admission is $15 ($5 for those 12 and younger and $10 for ISU students).

"Ranch rodeo connects the audience to western culture," said Leah Mosher, a junior majoring in agriculture and society. "The events are tailored around things that cowboys do every day. It is very different from what people traditionally think of when they hear 'rodeo.'"

It is an event for the Ames community whether this is a first rodeo experience or someone is steeped in western culture, Mosher said.

The ranch rodeo will consist of four events:

  • Sorting: Teams of four will sort out steers from a pen set up in the arena
  • Mugging: Team members rope a steer tying three legs together for six seconds before undoing the head and heeling rope
  • Mock branding: A calf is tied down and mock branded in a specific location
  • Trailering: Steers are sorted out of a pen and put in a trailer in the arena

Winners are determined by time. There is a tiebreaker rescue race where one team member rides a horse from one end of the arena to the other picking up a teammate before racing back. The fastest time wins.

"Ranch rodeo is the showcase of a practical skill," said Connor Pickhine, a sophomore majoring in animal science. "It is centered around teamwork and shows off what real ranch work is like."

The club promoted the event on its Facebook page and received responses from across the state. Competitors can be any age and teams of four can sign up to compete until the rodeo begins.

Why a ranch rodeo?

The ISU Rodeo Club has hosted the Cyclone Stampede for more than 50 years, bringing in college competitors from around the region. The stampede continues but has moved to the spring, so the club hopes to start another tradition with the Ranch Rodeo Championship.

"The stampede is all collegiate athletes, so the club wanted a way to connect wider audiences to western culture," Mosher said. "It gives us a way to reach beyond a collegiate audience and connect with people across the state."

Pickhinke said many alumni of the ISU Rodeo Club continue to help the club in a variety of ways.

"Our alumni are very supportive of this event, and one of them is actually our stock contractor," said Skie Campbell, a fifth-year senior double major in animal science and agriculture education. "We make a lot of connections with our alumni, and that allows us to continue as a club with their support."

Kids events

The club is making the event family friendly with a free Buck-a-Roo Roundup from 9 a.m. to noon and lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Cultivating Hope Farms, an Ames program that focuses on inclusion and acceptance for those with autism and other disabilities , is partnering with the club to host the roundup and has a team that will compete in the ranch rodeo. It also is bringing baby goats and mini donkeys for children to see.

Children can take part in stick-horse races, roping dummies and tie the tail on the goat. Ranch coloring sheets will be available for younger children.

Lunch is a hamburger, served by ISU's Collegiate Cattlemen, chips, candy bar and a drink for $6. The Dairy Science Club also will sell ice cream.