Ranch Hand Rodeo adds new events
The Churchill Country Fair and Ranch Hand Rodeo begins Thursday with an all-day family fun carnival followed by a weekend of family friendly events.
Two new events added to the Ranch Hand Rodeo schedule have already drawn a large number of participants.
Gail Hybarger, coordinator for the Stock Dog Trial and the Kids Goat Branding event, said signups for the events are close to reaching their limits.
“We have almost 40 dogs signed up for the dog trial on Friday, and we’re only take 20 teams for the goat branding event and we’re getting close to reaching that number,” Hybarger said.
Hybarger said she wanted to add these events for two reasons:
“With the dog trial I wanted people to see the intelligence and restraint these dogs have,” Hybarger said. “A lot of times people think the way the dogs control the cows are by mauling them but that’s not true. These ranch dogs are highly intelligent and listen extremely well to their owners command. The dogs do not injure they cows they simply encourage and direct the cows in several different ways without causing harm to them. The Kids Goat Branding came about because we wanted to have something fun for the kids to do and have them be able to participate in the fair.”
Hybarger said the dog trial will consist of three different classes — open, intermediate and nursery.
“The open class will allow dogs of any age to participate while the intermediate is for non-professional dogs who are just starting out and the nursery is for dogs 3 years of age and younger,” she said. “The dogs will be scored on a points and time scale. The dogs are given 2 minutes to gather three cows from one pen to another, but the dogs must move the cows past certain obstacles in order, to acquire points and then we’ll look at who has the quickest time and the most points and factor them together.”
Hybarger said fees for the dog trial are $150 for open and $125 for intermediate and nursery. She said dogs can be disqualified if they abuse the cows or interrupt another dog’s trial, and the handler must remain on horseback while giving commands in a predetermined area.
“I think people will really enjoy this event because it shows them how these dogs are used on a ranch and how well trained they are,” Hybarger said. “Their ability to direct these several hundred pound animals and follow the command of their owners is an incredible thing to see.”
Hybarger said the Kids Goat Branding event will consist of no more than 20 three-person teams.
“There will be two different age groups — 6 and under and s7-12,” Hybarger said. “Each team will have a header, heeler and a brander. The kids will rope, tie up and paint brand their goat.”
The idea for the goat-branding event was discovered at another rodeo, Hybarger added.
“I saw this event drew a lot of people to it and that the crowd was truly entertained so I thought it would be good to incorporate it to our fair,” Hybarger said. “Plus, I really wanted an event the kids could enjoy and have fun with. A lot of the kids have parents who participate in the rodeo and want to be a part of it just like their parents so this is a great event for them to do.”
Hybarger said each child requires a $15 fee to participate. She said the dog trial begins Friday at 7:30 a.m., and the goat branding begins later in the day at 5:30 p.m.
For information about signing up for either event, contact Hybarger at 775-426-8123, and for the fair’s event schedule, visit http://www.churchillcountryfair.com.