Top working cowboys and their families from throughout the Midwest have July 8-9 circled on their calendars.
“It’s the annual Santa Fe Trail Ranch Rodeo sanctioned by the Working Ranch Cowboys Association (WRCA),” according to Clay Wilson.
“This year’s competition again sponsored by the Morris County Youth Rodeo Association (MCYRA) will be extra special,” said Wilson, MCYRA president.
“The first ranch rodeo in the state and one of the first in the country was at Council Grove,” Wilson noted.
A number of ranch rodeo sponsors around the Midwest patterned their competitions after the one at Council Grove.
“In conjunction with our ranch rodeos, we started having a youth ranch rodeo for children of the contestants,” Wilson said. “This appealed to the working cowboys making our rodeo a family affair not just for the adults.”
Due to the appeal of such junior rodeos, now the WRCA is sanctioning youth competitions along with traditional ranch rodeos.
“We are excited to again host one of these WRCA Youth Ranch Rodeos at Council Grove,” Wilson said. “While our regular WRCA competitions are Friday and Saturday evenings, the youth ranch rodeo is Saturday morning, July 9, at 10 o’clock.”
A Youth World Championship Ranch Rodeo is during the 27th World Championship Ranch Rodeo in Amarillo, Texas, November 10-13.
“Our youngsters are so important. They are the next generation of our ranching community,” said Shawn Goemmer, WRCA president.
Throughout the year, qualifying youth ranch rodeo events will be geared for youth members 16 years of age and under. “Up to eight WRCA youth ranch teams will compete for the WRCA Youth World Champion title,” Goemmer said.
“Winner of the Santa Fe trail Youth Ranch Rodeo will be qualified for that prestigious competition,” Wilson pointed out.
At the Council Grove arena, four member teams representing 14 ranches have entered the WRCA evening performances at 7 o’clock.
“Top scoring team from both performances qualifies for the WRCA World Championship competition,” Wilson said. “Several winners from previous Santa Fe Trail Ranch Rodeos have gone on to become world champions.
Ranch bronc riding featuring some of the top bucking horses in the country will kick off each WRCA evening performance.
In a return engagement, OMAK Rodeo Company, owned by Don Reno of Nowata, Oklahoma, is again providing the broncs. The horses are production of his “Born To Buck” bronc breeding program.
“These stout bucking horses have been contracted to a dozen top professional rodeos since the spring season began,” Wilson said.
“We are contracting some of our broncs to the famed Cheyenne Frontier Days again this year,” Reno said. “Several of the broncs we have there will also be at this year’s Santa Fe Trail Ranch Rodeo.”
Furthering the exciting colorful Western competition for the working ranch cowboys will be the wild cow milking event.
“This is always an anticipated feature,” Wilson assured. “It’ll be even more exciting for contestants and spectators alike this year.”
A working cowboy, rodeo champion, Les Magee of Greeley is providing his big, rank, bright-speckled Longhorn cows for the event. “Those stout ornery momma cows will sure enough test the cowboys’ abilities,” Wilson added.
Additionally, “true to life cowboys’ work on the ranch” featured in the rodeo will be calf branding, stray gathering, and team penning.
“This livestock is provided by local ranchers straight from Flint Hills pastures here in Morris and surrounding counties,” Wilson said.
Featured youth events are calf branding, doctoring, cattle sorting, and penning with local ranchers also providing that livestock. There will be no admittance fee to attend the youth rodeo with eight teams entered.
Concessions by the sponsoring group will be available throughout each rodeo performance.
Additional information for entries and details is available from Wilson at 785-466-1359.