The popularity of the Ranch Challenge Competition within the Williams Lake Stampede continues to grow with contestants and spectators alike, so it wasn’t a real surprise when 11 teams paid the $100 entry fee to compete in this year’s challenge.
The teams competed (over the three days of Stampede) in several events including; two go-rounds of Ranch Branding, two go-rounds of Ranch Sorting, two runs each in the Saddle Horse Race, two rounds of Trailer Loading and one ride in the Ranch Saddle Bronc Riding. The winning team would be the outfit that garnered the highest point total from all five events.
The winning team for the Ranch Branding was the Alkali Lake Ranch (Willee Twan, Keegan Smith and Corben Clarkson). They won the first round and were third in round two for 180 points. In second spot was the Riske Creek Ranch team of Cuyler Huffman, James Stafford and Mike Jasper, also with 180 points (the tie was broken on time). In third place, Wineglass Ranch (also 180 points); Keely and Iaian Durrell and David Maurice).
The Saddle Horse Race was won by the Chilco Ranch; Jordan Grier, Tim Thomas and Pat Jasper with 180 points. Second place went to D Lazy S Ranch; Douglas Sill, Trevor Mertes and Dale Sulin with 150 points while the ladies riding for the Woodjam Ranch; Ricky Seelhof, Raquel Russell and Shelly Loring took third with 140 points.
Next up was the Cattle Sorting with Riske Creek Ranch (180 points) edging out Alkali Lake Ranch (170 points), followed by Wineglass Ranch (130 points) in third place.
The Trailer Loading proved to be quite a challenge in go-round one as more than half the teams were unable to get the required two-head of cattle loaded into the trailer. Alkali Lake Ranch was quickest in round one, loading their cattle in jig-time, followed by Gang Ranch (Wacey Marr, Curtis Smith and Mike Fay) and Riske Creek Ranch. After some discussion, a wing (panel) was added to the setup for the second round which was won by the Riske Creek Ranch. In second was Bear Claw/Bear Valley Ranch (Tim Gilson, Steve Roberts, Reg Desmond and Alec Chilihitzia) with the Johnny Sam Ranch (Dale King, Darren Sulin and Doug Alexis) in third place.
The ranch Saddle Bronc contest was a show complete with busty blonde bronc riders and clouds of baby powder wafting through the air. Curtis Smith of Gang Ranch (riding for two teams) took first place followed by Jeff Gray (riding for Riske Creek Ranch) and Corben Clarkson (Alkali Lake Ranch) splitting second/third and Chad Seelhof (Woodjam Ranch) wound up in fourth.
After all the events were completed, the total points were calculated and the 2011 Ranch Champions were the Alkali Lake Ranch (with 770 points). In second spot was the Riske Creek Ranch with 670 points, followed by Chilco Ranch and Gang Ranch who tied for third/fourth with 590 points each. Fifth was Wineglass Ranch with 570 points, sixth was Woodjam Ranch (470), seventh was Johnny Sam Ranch (440), eighth was Bear Claw/Bear Valley Ranch (400), ninth/10th split was D Lazy S Ranch and Rafter 4 Ranch (Brittany Elkins, Meagan Sam and Clinton Palmantier) (280) and 11th was Chilcotin Trails Ranch (Quinton Palmantier, Emery Phillips and Jenna Murray) (210).
The 2011 Pony Express Race champions were the Lulua Ranch team of Jimmy and Howard Lulua and Ralph Meyers who won both heats of their race quite handily. The Johnny Sam Ranch also won their two heats, but in slower times than the Lulua entry.
The winners of the Wild Cow Milking were the Gang Ranch cowboy team of Marr, Smith and Fay who were second the first day, the only team to successfully milk a cow on day two, second in round three and although they didn’t place on the last day, the team still accumulated enough total points to win the event and the shiny trophy buckles.
The 2011 Mountain Race Champion was Bobi Bracewell, our 2011 Williams Lake Stampede Princess, who placed third, first, second and sixth, respectively, for 500 points.
The 2010 champion Jimmy Lulua, who won the race on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday also finished with 500 points but a costly mishap Friday, when his horse went off-course on the first big turn, resulted in a disqualification that day.
In the event of a tie, the tie-breaker is the fastest time overall on all four runs. With a no-time for Lulua Friday, the championship went to Bracewell who had the quickest cumulative time on four cleans runs, followed by Roger William in second place.