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Saving cowboy heritage

Teams compete for champion status

JK Ranching team (l to r) Jeremy Pilkey, Carla Marsh, Roger Dunham, and Kevin Taylor.

A traditional grassroots version of rodeo developed over the years from competitions held between ranch hands during large working ranch gatherings kicked up a lot of dust in Hamiota last month.

The Manitoba Ranch Rodeo Association (MRRA) and its members from across Manitoba and Saskatchewan uplifted the spirits of the history of the sport. Although times have changed, there are still many working cowboys out there who are excited to showcase their exceptional skills, horsemanship and stockmanship of their everyday lives in the rodeo arena.

The MRRA is a non-profit association with deep ranch- and family-focused roots, in which teams of family members, friends or working partners unleash talents at a number of sanctioned events over the two provinces throughout the summer. To reach the year-end finals, the seven teams converging on the community, (known for hosting high school and semi-pro rodeos), qualified in the top 10 of their respective events to compete for championship status.

All seven team events, of which six were featured at the finals, see members working against a set time limit. Everyday activities of traditional working cowboys were featured. Competitors’ skills aboard horseback or on the ground are a prerequisite in ranch rodeo competition, which featured steer mugging, team doctoring, calf branding, range branding, wild cow milking, and saddle horse race at the finals.

After two go-rounds, sponsored awards were handed out, with the winners posted on the MRRA’s website.

The Manitoba Ranch Rodeo Association is an organization dedicated to preserving the heritage and grit of working cowboys yesterday and still today, found in community pastures, feedlots or simply a cow-calf operation, where horsemanship may still play an intricate role.

Darrell Nesbitt writes from Shoal Lake, Manitoba.

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