What a Week! | The WRCA Blog
As a rookie team at the 22nd World Championship Ranch Rodeo, I have to say that the experience was an incredible one. First, I’d like to thank the WRCA staff, board of directors, and volunteers for a great week. I’ve been to the WCRR enough to see that the contestants are well taken care of, but to experience it firsthand was something altogether different.
First, as a contestant, you virtually don’t have to purchase a single meal the entire week. The contestant hospitality room is always open with snacks and drinks, and meals are served three times a day. In talking with one of the board members, he figures they serve more than 600 people at the dinner meal! But that’s only the beginning. The WRCA and their sponsors load contestants down with official coats and shirts, YETI coffee mugs, Ranch Hand Coffee and t-shirts, and on and on.
The first thing most cowboys do, though, is get their horses settled in. The stalls (in a new location this year) were wonderful. Not only were they covered and on dirt rather than asphalt, the WRCA provided two bags of wood shavings for each stall—and had more on hand for sale anytime we needed them. Using a little cowboy ingenuity, they had rigged up a watering system off of a nearby fire hydrant, so we had plenty of water pressure.
Inside the arena, conditions were just as good. Contestants are most worried about the stock, and from top to bottom, there were no major complaints that I heard. The roping cattle were even, the sorting heifers (for the most part) respected a horse, and the milking cows put up a fight—which the crowd enjoys more than the cowboys, of course. The broncs were even and strong as usual. Kirsten Vold aptly carried on her father Harry’s tradition.
My team, Iron Springs/Welch Cattle, didn’t have the best week. Our bronc rider was second in the average, but we were pretty uneven in the other events. I think we learned a lot about what it takes to win there. Teams have to be very skilled, and sometimes things just have to shape up right, too. To come out on top—as the Wilson and Haystack Cattle team did—is no small feat. Kudos to them.
As usual, the rest of the week was a blast. Having an opportunity at fellowship with our friends and family, catching up with old friends, watching a top-notch horse show, and trading on the best cowboy goods that exist never gets old. And doing it with a back number on made the whole thing a bit more special.
Who knows if we’ll ever make it back as contestants, but we’ll be out there again in 2018, giving it our best shot.
Bob Welch has spent his career writing and thinking about horses, riders, and the West. When not sitting at his computer working through writer’s block, he and his family enjoy being horseback, working cattle, and competing in ranch rodeos.