The Western Heritage Classic Ranch Rodeo features some of the largest and most historic ranches in the United States. Each year the ranches gather to compete in events that are designed to test the cowboys’ skills in aspects of every day ranch life. Events including team penning, branding, cow milking, doctoring and bronc riding provide plenty of challenges for the team and excitement for the crowd. Stock contractor Bennie Beutler along with rodeo announcers Hadley Barrett and Bob Tallman add excitement and world-class professionalism as they introduce the ranches, cowboys, dignitaries and sponsors of the event in the Grand Entry each night.
Bronc Riding is the only event in which only one member of the team participates. For 8 seconds the cowboy tests his bronc riding skills as he tries to obtain points for the team. On the ranch it is important to have an adequate supply of good horses for working cattle. "Starting" and training new broncs each year is just a typical part of the job for a cowboy. This event is usually considered one of the most exciting events to watch in the Western Heritage Classic.
Team Branding is an event that is based on calf branding. This event requires four team members: one on horseback, two ready to flank the calf and one ready with the branding iron. As the team member on horseback ropes the calf, the two flankers must wait until the calf is dragged across a line before they can remove the rope and brand the calf. Winners in this event are based upon the fastest time of branding the calf.
Team Doctoring is an event that is accomplished on horseback with one cowboy roping the head and another roping the heels. As the calf is held with ropes from both ends, the doctoring takes place. The ranchers are faced with a limited number of tries, which makes this event intense and exciting to watch.
Wild Cow Milking is an event that often brings laughter and heightened anticipation as a team of four cowboys does whatever it takes to catch and milk a wild milk cow. When the cow is roped three team members on the ground hang on the best way possible to bring the cow to a standstill so that one of the team members can collect milk in a long neck bottle and run to the finish line. The actual bringing the cow to a standstill usually causes a lot of laughter. If no milk is collected the team gets no points.
Team Penning has become known as one of the most popular events in ranch rodeos. It requires four team members to read and judge the cattle’s behavior. A good cutting horse is vital, as three cows must be cut from the herd. Team members must keep the three cattle separated from the herd and drive them to the pen. Patience and teamwork is the key in this event. The winner is determined by the fastest time.