Ranch Hand Rodeo

Hey everyone! Happy Wednesday!

IMG_1001 A few weeks ago, I set up my small vending booth at the 27th annual Winnemucca Ranch Hand Rodeo and enjoyed a rodeo weekend. It’s my fourteenth year of vending there and I love, love, love attending. For one thing, I get to see my neighbors, many of whom I only see a few times a year. Several of them are on ranch hand teams, so I also get to see them compete, which is a lot of fun. Also I get to seefamily kids grow up, from being babes in arms to competing in stick horse races, then sheep riding, then…well, I haven’t been there long enough to see any of the kids reach the age where they compete on an actual ranch hand team, but I’m sure it’s coming.

Ranch hand, or rancher, rodeos are competitions betwRanch Hand 1 007een teams of cowboys and cowgirls representing different ranches. The events are those that a working cowboy might encounter in the course of their day. There are a few traditional rodeo events—bronc riding, team roping and steer stopping—along with ranch events—branding (with paint), ranch doctoring, cow mugging, steer loading. The wild horse races and wild cow milking may not be everyday ranch occurrences, but they add some spice to the competition.

Ranch Hand CalcuttaThe rodeo starts off with a Calcutta, where people bid on the teams. The money goes into a pot proceeds are used as prize money, with a portion going to the person buying the winning team(s). Yes, you can buy your own cowboys.


Steer loading is one of my favorite events. There are times on a ranch when a steer on the range needs to be loaded into a trailer to be brought back to the ranch.

Cow mugging is along the same lines. Sometimes a steer or cow needs to be caught and cared for due to an injury or some other circumstance and is in an area where it can’t be run through a chute. It may take three or four people to take a grown cow down after it’s been roped.

This video does a great job of showing just what happens at a Ranch Rodeo.

There are sanctioned ranch hand rodeos and qualifying teams compete for a national title in early November. The Winnemucca event lasts for four days. In addition to the two-day rodeo, there are children’s events, cow dog trials and a stock horse competition, followed by a ranch horse sale.

If you ever get a chance to attend a ranch hand rodeo, I highly recommend it. It’s a great family experience.

And…my first  American Romance is out this month!

Watt The Bull Rider Meets His MatchTESTING THE LIMITS 

Rodeo star Grady Owen has a new challenge. No-nonsense Alexa Benjamin is tougher than any bull he’s ever faced…but she sure is a whole lot prettier! Not that Grady has time for much between caring for his twin nieces, rebuilding his family’s farm and training. Trouble is, the more he tangles with Lex, the more he wants to win her heart. 

Lex is drawn to Grady…in spite of herself. But ever since her bullfighter father died in the ring, she’s determined to never need anyone again. She’s afraid, and Grady is all about facing fear head-on. Taking a chance on this bull rider is unthinkable…but so is the idea of letting him walk away!

Amazon  Barnes and Noble

Website  Facebook





Website | + posts

Jeannie Watt raises cattle in Montana and loves all things western. When she's not writing, Jeannie enjoys sewing, making mosaic mirrors, riding her horses and buying hay. Lots and lots of hay.

10 thoughts on “Ranch Hand Rodeo”

  1. Congrats on the book! I love everything rodeo and farms. I grew up on one! Glad you got to see that all!

  2. Thank you for sharing this Jeannie! I’m a “city girl” so other than the riding lessons I took as a child, and a few trips to local rodeos, I have no knowledge of the lingo and the things surrounding a real ranch rodeo. I really enjoyed the pictures and videos! Your books all sound like great reads! I love reading small town, ranch stories. Best wishes with your new release!

    • Thank you, Kathryn. I love reading and writing about small towns and ranches. They’re great places to escape to. I confess that I also love my visits to cities. A bit of both worlds is always nice.

  3. What a great post, Jeannie. I’m a suburb girl who sure enjoys getting her cowgirl on the the local horse rescue! I love the idea of a ranch hand rodeo. I attended a rodeo when my publisher held a retreat in Bandera Texas…the cowboy capital, and wow, did I enjoy myself.

    Congrats on The Bullrider Meets His Match!

  4. Love the family atmosphere of this rodeo. We are too far east for this so we substitute with steam engine shows. Very family friendly and guaranteed to give one grit between their teeth!

    Thank you for an interesting and informative post.
    Congratulations on your new release.

  5. What fun. These local events are a great time to get together and spend time with neighbors. They also bring back some of the original reasons for rodeos – showing off the skills needed to do the job.

Comments are closed.