By Melissa Blosser, Assistant Editor
What is the difference between a professional rodeo and a ranch rodeo? The contestants are typically full-time working cowboys who spend their days on the ranch, not professional athletes who spend their time training and competing. You’ll see more floppy bellies, more mistakes and more smiles, but also get a taste of how real cowboys do their work.
Professional rodeo cowboys can make a living from the prize purses, but these guys just hope to pay back their entries, win a buckle and capture bragging rights.
The Ranch Rodeo attempts to resurrect the events from some of the earliest rodeos, held more than a century ago. These events mimic work on the ranch, unlike an event such as bull riding, which a cowboy doesn’t usually do unless he’s thrown back too many longnecks.
Pro rodeo, like all professional sports, has evolved into a more stylized and standardized form over the years. For instance, they rope an animal running out of a chute instead of clumped in a herd, and every contestant wants the same shot.
Ranch rodeo still has the rough edges. The cowboys compete a handful of times each year. And the livestock is straight off the ranch. A bull in the PBR knows his job and does it; the animals at the ranch rodeo are making it up as they go.
Most ranch rodeo events, other than bronc riding, require a team effort. Cowboys represent the ranch they work for and win, or lose, as a team.
Congratulations to our cowboys in Lassen County for all their dedication to carrying on the traditional of real ranch work and for allowing us the opportunity to watch you compete.