Eagle Creek Saddle Club hosted its annual ranch rodeo Friday and Saturday nights, showcasing 20 teams competing in five different events.
Despite the heat and threat of storms, crowds of 300 – 400 attended the ranch — located about four miles west of Olpe — each night to cheer on the cowboys and cowgirls, and to visit with one another. Spectators clustered in groups — standing by the corral, sitting in folding chairs or lounging in the backs of trucks while little kids ran around playing elaborate games of tag.
Danny Broyles, Eagle Creek Saddle Club president, said the event is an opportunity for folks to get together and socialize.
“This is a real community event,” he said. “It gives folks a chance to catch up with people we don’t get to see very often.”
Those who were there to watch the action saw teams of four competing in events like sorting, doctoring calves, doctoring steers, mugging and trailer loading. Judges keep track of how long it takes the team to complete each task, then all the times are added together. The team with the fastest overall time wins the rodeo.
The events mimic real work ranchers do on a daily basis. Most of the teams are made up of full-time ranchers.
“This is a chance for folks to see what ranchers do all day,” Broyles said. “What they’re doing out there, that’s what this part of the country is all about, and it’s neat to get to see them in action.”
Travis Heins grew up riding horses and working with cattle. He works in a different industry now, but competes in the ranch rodeo on Team Redeker Ranch. It’s challenging, but he enjoys getting back in the saddle — literally — to revisit his skills as a cowboy.
“It comes natural,” he said. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun.”
The ranch rodeo is a fundraiser for the Saddle Club. Money raised at the…