"Every kid dreams of being a world champion," Quinn said. His brother, interviewed separately, said, "Everybody dreams of this, growing up and being some kind of world champion." Their dreams came true-twice over-Sunday afternoon when cowboys from the Slagowski and Martin ranches claimed a second straight title at the World Championship Ranch Rodeo, held Nov. 13-16 and sponsored by the Working Ranch Cowboys Association."Every kid dreams of being a world champion," Quinn said. His brother, interviewed separately, said, "Everybody dreams of this, growing up and being some kind of world champion." Their dreams came true-twice over-Sunday afternoon when cowboys from the Slagowski and Martin ranches claimed a second straight title at the World Championship Ranch Rodeo, held Nov. 13-16 and sponsored by the Working Ranch Cowboys Association.
"Every kid dreams of being a world champion," Quinn said. His brother, interviewed separately, said, "Everybody dreams of this, growing up and being some kind of world champion."
Their dreams came true-twice over-Sunday afternoon when cowboys from the Slagowski and Martin ranches claimed a second straight title at the World Championship Ranch Rodeo, held Nov. 13-16 and sponsored by the Working Ranch Cowboys Association.
The twins and another brother, Justin Martin, joined forces with Joe Slagowski and Martin Ranch day worker Ted Laird. The Martins all live on their family ranch in Evanston, Wyo., while Laird and Slagowski are from the Pine Valley, Nev., area. The two ranches are about five hours apart, but Laird-who had worked with both ranches-knew it would be worthwhile to put these cowboys together on one knockout team.
Doing day work for the Martins, he knew "these guys are good ropers and good hands." And after meeting Slagowski, who has ridden broncs on the professional rodeo circuit, Laird realized "he’s pretty sticky, and he ropes good." His instincts-and his own cow-punching skills-were right on. The five talented cowboys rode off with quite a bag of goods to show for their consistent performances over the four nights of the rodeo.
A 20-foot stock trailer from Gooseneck Trailers was the largest haul. When the team won a trailer last year, they sold it and split the money. This year, the Martin brothers will buy out Laird and Slagowski’s interests in the trailer, then let their dad, Aaron, pull it.
Justin joked that the trio of brothers might just take the trailer by force. "There’s three of us and two of them, and I think we can whip them," he said, laughing, while Slagowski grumbled behind him. Last year, he also claimed that team members would duke it out for that trailer.
The team members receive custom saddles, from the maker of their choice, courtesy of WRCA. With two prized championship saddles now, several team members said they’d be saving them to pass on to their children. "I think I’ll put mine in the house and let them collect a little dust," Quinn said.
Another valuable prize going to the winning ranch is a bronze statue by artist Jason Scull that was commissioned by the WRCA Board of Directors. This Directors’ Trophy is sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Vedmetica Inc.
Championship trophy buckles made by Tom Paul Schneider/Finest Cowboy Engravings added to the loot going home to Wyoming and Nevada, as did rawhide braided bridles from 3 Bar B Rawhide. Fort Dodge provided animal health products, Cydectin and Quest gel.
Not to be overlooked as a prize is the pride that these cowboys will be taking home with them as repeat world champions. "It’s an accomplishment," Slagowski said, talking around his trademark toothpick. "There were a lot of good teams here. It’s real nice."
In all, 20 teams from across the western United States and Canada competed in the championship rodeo. Visit www.wrca.org and click on "Ranch Rodeo" to learn more about the teams and all the activities of the World Championship Ranch Rodeo.
The Awards Just Keep Coming!
Buckles, ropes, bits, spurs … you name it! If it was a desirable ranch-related item, it probably was given out as a prize at the 2003 World Championship Ranch Rodeo sponsored by the Working Ranch Cowboys Association. Here’s a look at other winning teams:
The reserve world champion team was Spade Ranch, which is headquartered in Colorado City, Texas. They were only 3 points off the lead, making the Slagowski-Martin cowboys sweat a little bit. Spade Ranch also won the high-point award in team penning. For their efforts, they won belt buckles, spurs, breast collars, cowboy-style benches and animal health products.
The third-place team, Les Cooper Cattle Co. and Bannon Land & Cattle Co., hail from Latham and Grenola, Kan. They had only 3 points less than the Spade Ranch, so competition was tough for these spots. Cooper-Bannon also won the high-point in wild cow milking.
Thompson Ranch, from Munday, Texas, took home fourth place, as well as bull whips and reins. They also won the high-point in ranch bronc riding and the wild horse race.
The top hand award went to Stoney Jones, a Tongue River Ranch cowboy who captured that same prize in 2001. This award honors cowboys who consistently turn in stellar performances in multiple events. Jones, who is from Dumont, Texas, receives the use of a 16-foot Gooseneck trailer for one year and a custom saddle, as well as a buckle, engraved bit, copper-bound stirrups and a host of other treasures.
Reserve top hand went to Brad Wilson of the Wilson Cattle Co.-Ward Ranch team, which is a five-time world champion. It was a good night for Brad, as his athletic horse also raked in some accolades. Diamond Five Joan was named the top horse of the rodeo, as well as the top American Quarter Horse. Wilson, of Arthur, Neb., hauled in more goods than he could carry horseback, among them a bronze trophy and headstall sponsored by the American Quarter Horse Association. His team also earned the high-point in team doctoring. The Wilsons’ partner Ward Ranch is from Martin, S.D.
Reserve top horse went to Playful Hemper, ridden by Tripp Townsend, manager of the Sandhill Cattle Co. in Earth, Texas.
Rounding out the awards ceremony, Joe Mac "Ho Ho" Petit of the Cowan-Pautsky team was called forward to accept the hard-luck cowboy award. The Seymour, Texas, cowboy’s participation in the wild horse race left him with a black and swollen eye and a busted lip. To ease the pain, he was awarded a 100X hat from Limpia Creek Hat Co. It also had to help that his team won the high-point award in team branding.
And thanks to WRCA sponsors and contributors, no one left the rodeo empty handed. Each ranch team received two hoof rasps, handles and sheaths, courtesy of Wagon Mound Ranch Supply. Each team will get a one-year subscription to i American Cowboyi0 magazine, and every team member took home a shirt from Budweiser Distributing of Amarillo and a coat from Roper Apparel and Footwear.
Turnabout Is Fair Play in the WCRR Ranch Horse Show
"All three of these horses are great champions," the announcer’s voice boomed after the final competition in the Ranch Horse Show held Nov. 14-16 in conjunction with the World Championship Ranch Rodeo.
Sure enough, Delta Color, a paint horse from Canadian, Texas, and his rider, Marshall Long, had just won the junior ranch horse competition for horses age 4 and under. Delta Color is owned by Boyd Rice.
Ginnin Handle, aka "Blue Duck," had carried owner Martin Black of Homedale, Idaho, to wins in both the cowboy, or novice-horse, and the senior divisions. His stablemate, Playlika Hickory, took second places in each of those categories.
Normally, the first-place finishers in each division enter the runoff to see who’s the overall ranch horse champion. But because Blue Duck had two first places, Black chose to give one of his berths to his runner-up, "Hickory."
As it turned out, Hickory exacted revenge during the Sunday afternoon runoff and beat Blue Duck by a whopping 22 points. He bested Delta Color as well and was named the champion ranch horse. The ranch horses were required to show their skills by performing reining maneuvers, then boxing, fencing and finally roping a cow.
Black describes Hickory, a 9-year-old stallion, as a cutting horse reject whom he bought in 1997 to add to his breeding program. As he began riding him, though, his talent shone through and Black began showing him in 1998. So now the son of Docs Hickory and Freckles Playmate spends two months pasture-breeding up to 30 mares, then is immediately put to work, going to horse shows or rodeos as a heeling horse.
"He’s well-mannered," Black said, and he takes the dual career right in stride. Plus, "he’s got personality. He’s always working on you, begging for a pet or begging for some food."
Blue Duck, by contrast, was actually a saddle bronc practice horse before Black bought him seven years ago. He put the now-13-year-old to work on the ranch and, with the help of wet saddle blankets, convinced him to curtail the bucking. "He’ll still buck you off if he gets a chance," Black said. If a rider’s attention wanes, he’s as good as bucked off.
Nevertheless, Blue Duck can work when he has to. Black shows him regularly in National Reined Cow Horse Association events and open bridle classes in the Northwest. He’s headed for the NRCHA national finals, as well as the World’s Greatest Horseman competition, with Bobby Norris in the saddle. Black said he may show Hickory at the World’s Greatest Horseman.
As far as which horse is the best, Black said it just comes down to "whichever one feels better that day or feels more tuned up. They’re pretty equal." And, judging from their showing in Amarillo, pretty darned good, too.