There wasn’t any dust to settle, but the muddy water never hindered the cowboys doing their professional work for fun last weekend.
The Santa Fe Trail Ranch Rodeo — located east of Council Grove — went on despite less than favorable arena conditions.
Cowboys formed 15 teams for ranches or combined ranches.
Sponsored by the Morris County Youth Rodeo Association, the two days of competition were sanctioned by the Working Ranch Cowboys Association (WRCA).
Scores from each performance were totaled together to name overall winners, with paychecks to the top four teams.
First place went to the Arndt and Bailey combined ranches team, qualifying for the World Championship Ranch Rodeo.
Mike and Ryan Arndt, Wes and Richell Bailey, Glen Collinge and Reid Green will compete from Nov. 7 to 10, in Amarillo, Texas. They’re from Chase, Greenwood and Lyon counties.
The Arndt-Bailey ranches split first place ranch bronc riding, and placed second in team penning. The team placed second in both calf branding and wild cow milking Saturday night.
Additionally the working ranch champions were third in wild cow milking and third in Saturday’s stray gathering.
Lonesome Pine Ranch from Chase County placed second overall in the standings. Team members are Bud, Frank, Makenzie and Troy Higgs, Travis Duncan and Bo Krueger.
The combined team of Keith Cattle Company of Lyon County and Perry Thompson Ranch of Osage County ranked third. Members are Brian and Justin Keith, Zack Parkin, Salvador Torres and Clay Wilson.
Fourth place overall team honors were collected by the combination Broken H Ranch, Bronson, and Buck Creek Ranch, Cottonwood Falls. Riders include Brock and Cliff Hall, Tyler Felt, Aaron Killingsworth and Randy and Sammy Jo Peterson.
Cliff Hall of the Broken H Ranch at Bronson also received the Top Horse Award for his five-year-old buckskin gelding. Genuine Boot Scooter was selected by an anonymous panel evaluating work of the registered Quarter Horses ridden in the rodeo.
Purchased as a colt, the winner broke and trained by Hall is rotated with six horses in regular ranch work. He’d been ridden at some ranch rodeos this year, but this is the first time in a WRCA event.
The American Quarter Horse Association awarded a trophy and the honor designation will be permanently inscribed on his registration papers. Randy Norris, WRCA president from Amarillo, Texas, presented the award to the cowboy and his horse.
An added feature of the weekend was a Junior Ranch Rodeo Saturday morning. First place was the Vogel Ranch from Chase County, as Lola and Piper Vogel competed with Mason McDonald as team members. Events were cattle sorting, calf branding and ribbon roping.
The Slash 5 Ranch team of Cole Wilson, Mason McDonald and Piper Vogel took runner-up honors in the junior rodeo, followed by the third-place team of Wilder Davis, Lola Piper and Hadley Smith from Arrow H Ranch.