The Inaugural Yampa River Ranch Rodeo and Iron Man Bronc Riding

Posted in: Featured, Ranch Life, Rodeo

Everything I know about rodeoing can be summed up in two truths: 1)  You will be cold and wet.  If you are not cold or wet, the sun is shining and  2) you will be hot and sweaty.    You’re already spending your weekend horseback with friends.  Asking for perfect weather is just plain greedy.  That said, this past weekend in Craig, Colorado we were blessed with almost perfect weather.  We slogged through mud and drove through snow to arrive at an overcast rodeo ground Friday afternoon.  The weather looked less than promising.  As we warmed up our pick-up horses, the clouds truly set-in and it began raining.  Though accompanied by hail, the shower was short lived.  Fortunately, the arena at the Moffat County Fairgrounds is superb (truly, beautiful ground), so there was little mud.

Round one of the Yampa River “Iron Man” Bronc Riding went off without a hitch Friday evening.  JD and Ty Hamaker of H & H Rodeo Company and Summit Pro Rodeo brought fine young horses. The evening resulted in some fine bronc rides, with the top twenty riders preparing for another night of action on Saturday.  I enjoy a good bucking horse ride, but I love to watch my horses work more.  The four pick-up men Wayne and Guy Larsen, Rand Selle, and Clay Kelly of Bad Medicine Rodeo Stock displayed effortless teamwork.  I may be biased, it is hard to be objective when one of them is my husband.  Plus, being a team member has perks, like motel rooms.  There is very little better than a shower and a dry bed on the rodeo road.

Two of my favorite competitors/pickup crew members.

Two of my favorite competitors/pickup crew members.


The Western States Ranch Rodeo Association sanctioned rodeo began Saturday morning.  Another day of perfect Spring weather, blessed the rodeo action.  A total of 14 teams competed in the fast paced events.  As we already know, I’m prone to favoritism, so I am unable to objectively report the turn of ranch rodeo events. I watched most of the rodeo, but only paid attention to my family team (they were consistent receiving a time in every event, but unfortunately not fast enough to bring home a paycheck).  I can report with some confidence that the entire Spear S Cattle Company team enjoyed themselves immensely.

The rodeo wrapped up with time enough to catch a quick nap before the evening bronc riding.  Rand Selle, Jessica Cardon, with Kyler and Jessie Scott of Selle Rodeo Productions, organized the competition as a progressive elimination.  Twenty riders returned for Round Two, the top ten competitors then moved on to Round Three.  The top five riders then competed in a sudden death championship round for the title of “Iron Man.”  The energy level behind the chutes was highly contagious, among the broncs and bronc riders.  By the time the final round neared, our pickup horses were able to smell the excitement from the warmup pen.

You know it's a real rodeo, when competitors roll in in real rodeo rigs.

You know it’s a real rodeo, when competitors roll in in real rodeo rigs, i.e. Lincoln Town Cars

In the midst of Saturday nights the testosterone fueled bronc matches, the organizers made room for a handful of ladies to shine in Women’s Steer Stopping.  Which I competed in, largely for the experience.  I am not fast, but I did manage a smooth, clean neck catch on a slick horn.  Due in part to the bad luck of my fellow competitors, rather than my skill, I placed second.  In addition to duty as a pickup horse, my little chestnut horse performed well as a rope horse.

The final round of the “Iron Man” competition was intense.  Bad Medicine Broncs brought their A-game, as did the riders.   Matt Robertson and JD Brock, walked away co-champions, after a hard fought, spur battle.  It is hard to say, whether it was the quality of competitors on both sides or the buildup of excitement, generated by the progressive rounds of elimination, but the “Iron Man” bronc riding competition is definitely worth watching.  Make plans to attend next year, in the meantime you can peruse action packed event photos at these sites:

Yampa River Ranch Rodeo

Wyo Cowboy Photography

Bad Medicine Rodeo

Corner of the Circle L

Posted in: Featured, Ranch Life, Rodeo

About Rachel Larsen

Rachel Lohof Larsen is a fifth-generation rancher, mom, wife, cowgirl, and blogger. Originally from Montana, Rachel has a BA in Environmental Science from Colorado College. She and her husband, Guy, bring a sense of integrity and a strong interest in sustainability to all their pursuits....

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