4th of July Ranch Rodeo Weekend

I spent this past 4th of July weekend at a Ranch Rodeo here in New Mexico. My best friend from high school was going to watch her husband and her younger sister was going along too so she invited me. Be prepared because things are about to get real punchy on here.

Ranch rodeos are different than your typical rodeo. Here’s how a ranch rodeo is described as by the Black Hills Roundup Rodeo: “Ranch rodeos are events in which traditional working cowboys gather to compete and demonstrate skills that are used every day in cattle ranching operations.”

Another important difference is that unlike rodeos where the competitors are competing individually (aside from team roping), ranch rodeos compete in teams of usually 4.

We’ll get to more descriptions of the events in a bit, but for now let’s talk about what I ate along the way. My friend had made chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, and no bake cookies that I had several of and they were great. A bag of hot cheetos was also a victim from the weekend. I’m going to squeeze in a What I Ate Wednesday Ranch Rodeo edition.

Ranch Rodeo eatsTop left: Dinner the first night at Cattle Baron. Steak and a sweet potato with strawberries for dessert. You can never go wrong with a good steak.

Top Right: Breakfast. Scrambled eggs with green sauce  with a side of hash browns and toast.. I’ve been needing more green sauce in my life.

Bottom Left: Brisket quesadilla. Brisket in any form is always good.

Bottom Right: Meat and potato burrito.


The ranch rodeo lasted two days. The first day teams competed in 2 or 3 events and then the next day they were in the events they didn’t do the day before. All of these events are practical and reflect what happens on a working ranch. The event descriptions are from the Smokey Bear Stampede site. And I can promise you that no animals were harmed during this if you’re concerned about that.

Team Gathering – Four cowoys start behind a line to catch a steer and a calf and tie them down. Time stops when all members are back behind line. Fastest time wins. Simulates gathering breakout calves during branding.


Team Doctoring – Four cowboys line out a steer, rope, mug or hold to allow mark of chalk on his head. Fastest time wins. Event simulates doctoring sick cattle in the pasture with a shot of antibiotic.


Team Branding – One cowboy ropes two calves out of the herd, drags them to the ground crew, who flank and brand the them. Fastest time wins. Exhibits the exact skills the cowboys demonstrate each year at branding time.



Trailer Loading – Two cowboys rope a steer and take hime to the trailer, where two cowboys on the ground help load him in the trailer. The riders then load their horses and time stops when all four cowboys are in the pickup. Fastest time wins. Exhibits the exact skills that the cowboys use when picking up sick or stray cattle on pasture.


Wild Cow Milking – Four cowboys line out a cow, rope her and hold her as still as they can while one of them milks her and runs the milk to the judge. Fastest time wins. Demonstrates the exact skills the cowboys use when tending to a momma cow with udder problems or to give a little extra to a weak calf.


Ranch Bronc Riding


The team I was watching didn’t end up winning, but we all still had a great weekend. Aside from the ranch rodeo during the day there was always a regular rodeo at night to attend. I had started to forget how much I love to shoot rodeo type events, so this was a nice refresher for my photography skills even though taking pictures from the grandstands makes things a little difficult.

And that’s where I spent my 4th of July weekend. Have a great Wednesday everyone!

Have you ever been to a rodeo? A ranch rodeo?


3 thoughts on “4th of July Ranch Rodeo Weekend

  1. LOVE the rodeo pics! i was a competitive barrel racer for quite a while growing up. i still miss the speed and excitement of it all. plus my horse was kick ass! haha. 🙂

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