August 12, 2020 603 PM
ALPINE — Working ranchers took a break from the herds this weekend to show off their skills and earn awards at the Big Bend Ranch Rodeo in Alpine. Though the crowds cheering them on had to be smaller this year, The Smith Cattle Company from Channing, Texas, were still able to score points in almost all five events on Friday and Saturday night and were crowned this weekend’s champions.
This year, orders from Texas Governor Greg Abbott restricted rodeos to 50 percent capacity and mandated mask wearing – but that didn’t slow down attendees, who sold out the 200 tickets early each night at the S.A.L.E. Arena in Alpine. On top of that, for the first time ever, 78 attendees were able to buy tickets to watch the events online through the Sul Ross Sports Network.
Eighty-five cowboys from 16 teams traveled from across Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico to compete in events ranging from the typical bronc riding to wild cow milking and team doctoring, testing real skills used by working ranchers.
The Smith Cattle Company, owned by Mike Smith and managed by Clint Jackson, is a cow/calf operation with a yearling program and feedyards. Captain Clint Jackson led the team and Colten Jackson won top hand, top horse and took home the bronc riding championship. Rounding out the team were Wesley Jackson, Taylor Burkett, Sheldon Fields and Monty Terkyl.
Besides cash and prizes, the team wins an automatic bid to the Working Ranch Cowboys Association World Championships held every November in Amarillo.
As part of Governor Abbott’s orders, masks were required at the event. “Cowboys as long as they were in the arena, horseback, or back in the stalls didn’t have to wear masks. Everybody else, we had to ask,” said Chachi Hawkins, a committee member for the ranch rodeo. Hawkins said COVID-19 protocol had to be approved by Sul Ross State University and follow state guidelines.
“All cowboys, BBRR committee members, volunteers and spectators will be required to wear a facial mask and practice social distancing standards set by the State of Texas, Brewster County, and Sul Ross State University,” said the university, which hosts the annual event in their arena.
Hawkins said it was a struggle to keep the audience masked, though the event took various steps to keep mask rules at the forefront. At the box office, attendees were told to wear masks and the organizers gave out masks to those who didn’t have one on hand.
Hawkins admitted, “Not everybody wore a mask,” but the event organizers pressed the issue repeatedly. The announcer reminded the audience to wear a face covering every 30 minutes, Hawkins said, and attendees “did a pretty good job of social distancing.”
And while the annual Sunday church service at the Big Bend Cowboy Church was able to go on as planned, the dance at the Old Crystal Bar was nixed this year, due to the governor’s order that closed bars.
Another casualty to COVID-19 was the mutton busting and boot scramble, events for children that were canceled “because we didn’t think there was a way to social distance that,” Hawkins said. “We really did put a lot of thought into ‘What can we do reasonably?’ and ‘What do we need to not do this year because we can’t do it very reasonably?’”
“Even with the restrictions of the COVID-19 protocol, we had two action packed evenings with an excited crowd,” she said. Plans for the 2021 Big Bend Ranch Rodeo on August 13-14, 2021 have already begun.
Full results from the weekend are below.
First: The Smith Cattle Company from Channing, TX
Second: The Redwine/Spike Box team from Throckmorton, Texas and Knox County
Third: The Quien Sabe Ranch team from Sweetwater, TX
Top Hand: Colten Jackson, Smith Cattle Company
Top Horse: ROWDY METALLIC – 7 year old Sorrel Gelding ridden by Colten Jackson
Champion Bronc Riding: Colten Jackson, Smith Cattle Company
Champion Wild Cow Milking: Tie – Double Diamond/7 Bar and Redwind/SpikeBox
Champion Team Doctoring: Tie – Smith Cattle Company, Heck/Detwiler Cattle Companies and Quien Sabe Ranch
Champion Team Sorting: Diamond H/Plus C
Champion Team Branding: Redwine/SpikeBox
Results from the other weekend events are:
Ranch Horse Association of America Competition:
BOX DRIVE BOX DRIVE CLASS:
1st Place: Tie between Cade Cravens and Clay Miller
3rd Place: Levens Peebles
1st Place: Levi Jones,
2nd Place: Brooks Jobe
RANCH HAND CLASS:
1st Place: Clint Jones
2nd Place: Tiffany McLaurey
1st Place: Ryan McCory
2nd Place: Travis Alcorn
1st Place: Gatlin Duncan
2nd Place: Maeghan Teyke
3rd Place: JT Suringa
1st Place: Wes Housler
2nd Place: Jake Murray
3rd Place: Elizabeth Yeary
Youth Working Cowhorse Competition:
JUNIORS (12 and under):
1st Place: Kree Owenby
2nd Place: Levens Peebles
3rd Place: Cade Cravens
4th Place: Levens Peebles
SENIORS (13 and over):
1st Place: Rance Peebles
2nd Place: Riley Cravens
3rd Place: Kylie King
The winner of each class in this youth competition wins an automatic bid to the Championships in Amarillo.