Greg Sabatino photo Cuyler Huffman (right) and his son, Kacey Huffman, of 153 Mile Ranch enjoy cattle sorting together during the Poplar Meadows Ranch Challenge held during the 92nd Annual Williams Lake Stampede.

Cowboys show off real skills in ranch challenge

The Ranch Challenge at the Williams Lake Stampede proved once again to be popular.

The Poplar Meadows Ranch Challenge held at the Williams Lake Stampede proved once again to be popular, as ranchers and teams from throughout the region squared off in a showcase of real-life ranching skills.

“Because it was held after the rodeo on Saturday and Sunday there was lots of time to run the events so more teams were able to enter,” said organizer LeeAnn Crosina.

A total of 12 ranch teams participated, coming from as far as north of Prince George and south of Kamloops. In the ranch challenge, it’s often a family affair with two or more members of the same family competing.

“Some of the riding horses had not been to town before and that proved to be challenging, as well,” Crosina said.

Below are the events, their descriptions, and the winners:

Cattle Penning

Teams sort two of the cattle out with matching numbers on their back and take them to the other end of the arena and put them in a pen. This year’s cattle penning was won by Rolph Stock Ranch (Bruce Rolph, Gary Ellis, Wade McNolty) who penned their two head of cattle in a fast time of 30.47 seconds.

Cowhand Trailer Race

The winning team in the cowhand trailer race was the Lazy TJ Ranch (James and Hayley Allan, Lee Migvar) in 57.33 seconds.

Starting with all members of the team mounted, one at a time they race around a course and hand off a baton to the next rider. After finishing the course all horses are loaded into a trailer to stop the timing clock. Two teams ran the course at the same time.

Trailer Loading

This year’s winner was Pablo Mountain Ranch (Aaron and Jessi Herrick and Rick Loreth) with a time of 39.22 seconds. Trailer loading is a challenging event where teams must chase two animals out of the herd and into a trailer.

“It proved to be a bit of a challenge as the cattle wanted to get back to the herd,” Crosina said.

Cattle Sorting

Winners were the Lazy TJ Ranch with 10 head of cattle through the gate in one minute and nine seconds. The event is a test of horsemanship and reading the cattle. One wrong move by the rider can mean the difference between winning and losing.

One heifer chose every change to try to escape, taking some of the teams out of the running for the top spot.

Ranch Branding

Winners were the 153 Mile Ranch (Cuyler and Casey Huffman, with Ryan Jasper) in a time of one minute and 11 seconds. Roping may be becoming a lost art on some ranches due to the use of corral systems and chutes, but on the open range it is the way to get an animal doctored, in most cases, when you are many miles from the home ranch. In this event the cattle proved to be victorious 50 per cent of the time, as only half of the teams caught their steer.

Saddle Up Relay

The Lazy TJ Ranch picked up the win in a time of one minute and two seconds. Always a crowd pleaser, it involved one person leading an unsaddled horse to the next partner who bridled it and got on to ride bareback to the third partner who saddled as fast as possible then raced back to the start. Four teams ran at the same time, side by side, adding to the excitement.


The overall winners were the Lazy TJ Ranch of Prince George with a total of 510 points.

Rolph Stock Ranch finished second with 470 points, while Douglas Lake Ranch – Riske Creek Division took third with 430 points.

In the ranch bronc riding event it was Joe Roberson hanging on for a memorable ride and a first place finish with a score of 80. Ethan Desmond took second with a 76, Jay Hope placed third with 74 and Mike Deboice was fourth with 73.

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