Reflection: Congratulations to Sandhill Cattle Co.

Congratulations to Sandhill Cattle Co., the New World Champs

Consistency was the name of the game at the 2013 World Championship Ranch Rodeo. Points are awarded in each of two go-rounds, as well as for the average. Teams that win the average are named the champions of that event, and it’s usual that one of those champions go on to claim the world championship. But not in 2013.

“We didn’t win the average in any event, but I think we got points in every event,” says Sandhill Cattle Co. team captain Tripp Townsend. “Things just went our way. I don’t think we’re any better than any other cowboy here, it just happened to be our day.”

And so, for the third time, Sandhill was named world champs. The team had qualified for the WCRR 12 times, and their world championships came in 2004 and 2007. Tripp jokes that he thought he might have been too old for another one, but “maybe we got lucky.”

His teammates are Riley Smith, Tyler Rice, Randy Knight and two of his children, Autumn and Trail.

“We just get along good and it has been fun,” Tripp says. “I’ve known all of them for a long time. Me and Randy Knight met when we were in junior high. And Riley’s my brother in law. He started working for me while he was in college, and he ended up marrying my sister. I’ve known Tyler Rice since he was like 3 years old. Tyler worked for my dad. It has been a great team.”

Autumn, 17, and Trail, 11, were on there to fill in if needed.

“That’s a funny story,” Tripp says of the youngsters’ inclusion. “There was one rodeo that we all went to a team roping except for Tyler Rice, and we didn’t make it to the ranch rodeo in time, so Tyler and Autumn and Trail did the whole rodeo by themselves. That’s why we have them on there, as backup.”

All three of the Townsend kids (including Summer, the oldest) have been showing in ranch-horse competitions, and Autumn, riding Hoorey, even won the senior division of the WRCA Youth Ranch Horse Show sponsored by AQHA.

Good horses are the key to the Townsend family’s success, and Tripp’s mount, Sage Tradition, was named the reserve top horse at the WCRR.

“He’s just a 3 year old. I bought him here at the Western Bloodstock sale as a yearling, and he’s just very laid back and easy going,” Tripp says. Given his young age, “I was a little nervous how he’d take it all, but he took it good. I never thought he hurt me in the rodeo; I thought he helped me. I was proud of him. I’m hoping to bring him back for a long time.”

All of the teammates praised their American Quarter Horses who helped them to this success.

Riley was riding Mark That Playn Cat, a cowy 9-year-old gelding; Randy rode the handy Capitol Colt; and Tyler was on TRR Pepcids Gun, bred by the Zoetis AQHA Best Remuda Award-winning Tongue River Ranch.

Tyler says that good horses are integral – you know what they’re going to do and how dependable they’ll be. And the same goes, of course, for the Sandhill Cattle Co. teammates.

Sandhill Cattle Co. is based in Earth, Texas, owned by Tripp Townsend, Riley Smith and Bruce Bridges. Sandhill leases 15,000 acres of grass in Lamb County, Texas, which runs about 2,000 head of yearlings in the summer. During the winter, 3,000 head of yearlings are cared for on wheat pasture. Sandhill also owns a 400-head preconditioning lot.