Burns Ranch returns to Henrietta, Texas, as reserve world champions
The Amarillo, Texas-based Working Ranch Cowboys Association has held its World Championship Ranch Rodeo in Amarillo for 22 years, drawing ranches from across the country. This year, 23 ranch teams qualified for the pinnacle event held Nov. 9-12, and they came from Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Texas, Wyoming, Nebraska and New Mexico.
Of those hard-riding, mad-skilled ranches, the one from Henrietta, Texas, finished as reserve world champions. They’re bringing home a load of loot that includes new Resistol hats, Yeti coolers, tack for their horses and new Olathe cowboy boots.
Events in ranch rodeo mirror those done by real cowboys, in their real jobs.
Take wild cow milking. For those who haven’t seen it, the event calls for one cowboy on horseback to rope a full-grown (and usually irritated) cow that often outweighs the cowboy’s horse. With a loop around the cow’s neck, a ground crew of three cowboys then grab the rope, the cow’s head, her tail – whatever means necessary – to stop her and hold her still enough for a milker to squeeze some milk into a longneck bottle. Though it seems a little wild and crazy, the event mimics what might happen on a ranch if a calf had to be bottle fed in an emergency.
The World Championship Ranch Rodeo, besides being a showcase for the best working cowboys in the business, is also the signature fundraising event for the WRCA Foundation, which provides crisis assistance to working ranch cowboys and their families who have fallen victim to injury or illnesses, as well as scholarships to ranch kids who are heading to college.
World champions – Wilson Cattle and Haystack Cattle Co., Canyon and Lubbock, Texas
Reserve world champions – Burns Ranch, Henrietta, Texas
Third place – Lonesome Pine Ranch, Cedar Point, Kansas
Fourth place – Jolly Ranch and S&L Ranch, Agate and Lamar, Colorado
Top Hand – Connor Grokett of Robbins Ranch, Cottonwood Falls, Kansas
Reserve Top Hand – Paul Osgood of Lonesome Pine Ranch
Top AQHA Ranching Heritage-Bred American Quarter Horse – TRR Sharlena Kat, owned by Tongue River Ranch of Dumont, Texas, and ridden by T.J. Roberts
Reserve Top Horse – Lightning Blue Jazz, owned and ridden by Rodey Wilson
Top WCRR Horse and Top AQHA Horse – Razzle Dazzle Rey, owned and ridden by John C. Brian of Veale Ranch, Parker and Tarrant counties, Texas
More on Burns Ranch
Burns Ranch has a storied history. In 1890, Aldolphus W. Raht, of German descent, bought a large portion of the Red River Cattle Co. in northern Texas. His headquarters was the original Block Bar Ranch in southern Clay County. He raised high-quality ranch horses and Hereford cattle.
Aldolphus and his wife, Ella Mae, raised one son, Carlyle Graham, who later became an author. One of his books, “Old Buck and I,” is a collection of first-hand stories on the ranch during a time of Indian raids and fence wars.
By 1928, blizzards, droughts and disease had taken a toll and forced the Rahts to deed the ranch to banker Carl Worsham of Henrietta. In 1934, Lillian and L.T. Burns of Wichita Falls purchased the ranch from the Worsham estate. The sales price was $9.70 per acre. Lillian’s grandfather, C.L. “Kit” Carter, was a prominent cattleman near Palo Pinto. Kit was the first president of the Texas Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association in 1877.
Becky Burns Johnson, granddaughter of Lillian and L.T., grew up in Wichita Falls. She spent summers on the ranch with her grandparents and three brothers. In the 1980s, she acquired sole ownership of the ranch and now continues adding acreage to the ranch in Clay and Jack counties.
Becky lives in and preserves the original Raht Ranch house built in the early 1890s. Her son, Graham, lives on the ranch as its manager. They run a commercial Black Angus cow/calf operation, background yearlings and raise a small registered Angus herd.
The WCRR team members were: Graham Johnson, Chad Johnston, Jayson Castle, Scott Hand and Colten Mayo.