(We are at the R Lazy S Ranch in Jackson, Wyoming. The. Best. Ever.)
I feel like I’m in 2nd grade and just won the sack race. I’m actually kinda giddy!
WE WON THE TEAM PENNING THIS YEAR!
Victory is sweet (huge, silly grin).
TEAM PENNING WANNABE
First off, this victory is sweet because for the last 3 years, I have been a Team Penning Wannabe.
I didn’t know the rules, I didn’t know the ropes and I totally did not have the right clothes.
Same with this year… except this year, we got lucky!
Hubby, Adam (our friend from Grass Valley) and I were the team named, Original Sins. We were called that because Adam’s name is Adam – get it? OK, anyway, we only had about a minute to figure out a name.
We went 2nd and we had 5 rounds.
As we sat in the warmup area, we planned our strategy. Since Hubby had the largest horse, Cochise, he would break up the herd and cull the 3 we needed. Adam would be close to Hubby and I’d close ‘the hole’ so the calves couldn’t break out of formation and run off.
Cochise, being the perfect horse that he is, bulldozed his way into the pack and pushed three calves forward. Adam rode roughshot along side and I was ahead, making sure to not be too far ahead and also closing all holes. Once we felt the calves were safely headed into the pen, my job was to race around and ‘close the door – meaning the other side of the pen.- so that no calves could escape out that way.’
It was a good plan.
BLUE CHEESE AND DIABLO – calves with huge horns
After 3 rounds, it was clear that the same 3-4 calves were always willing to be herded, and the others kept in the corner.
So, the new rule was to make sure that “Blue Cheese” (a roan calf) and “Diablo” (a black calf) – both with large horns – were in the mix. This was much more difficult – except we had Cochise who didn’t take NO for an answer. He was like a huge, furry bowling ball. Cochise just went in and broke up the group. He had no fear of horns.
CASH – my horse!
I’m not sure that Cash knew what we were doing, but he was very responsive to my cues. He’d face the cows when they wanted to bolt. He would stay sidebyside and then when I asked him to breakaway and close the door, he was all too eager to run over there and STOP like a brick wall.
He was a very sweet boy. I loved his eyes. I will ask for him again next year They now allow you to groom your horse instead of riding on a morning or afternoon. I’d hate to miss a ride but I’d like to do that.
THE OTHER TEAMS
I must say, watching regular folks (like myself) do this is the most fun! All the guests are just people who spend one week a year being cowboys – and we all know it. We aren’t trying to be real cowboys… it is obvious that we are fake cowboys – and loving it!
So, thinking back on this team penning exercise, I remember Linda, the sweetest, best coiffed gal from North Carolina (who told us the true meaning of “bless her heart”) who burst out and was the glue for her team! I couldn’t help but yell encouragement for Linda as she worked her team to victory!
Bob, whose horse, Whiskey, had no interest in participating and was too big to make him do otherwise – so funny. Ed who became a real ‘hand’ in only a few days… they guy looked like a movie cowboy on his gorgeous horse.. Tom (Ed’s father), so in love with his horse Pirate, who didn’t let him down. Joellen, the tech scion, who was on Jude – Jude knew the ropes but Joellen was cueing the calves with words like, “Go to the left” and “Enter, please”. OMGosh it was so much fun!!!!!
I wanted to say as an aside… it started raining during this Team Penning event, and all the horses put their butts to the wind. When the wind changed, they moved. Consequently, I was only wet on my back. Very cool.
These ranch horses know how to survive – even during fake cowboy Team Penning!