Wilson County News November 7, 2012 4,295 views 1 comment
NIXON -- According to www.sanantonioranchrodeo.com, “Ranch rodeos are more than just a rodeo. They combine events backed by hundreds of years of ranching heritage with athlete-cowboys who will lay their bodies on the line to win.” Ranch rodeos across the state live up to this description and spectators can anticipate rough and rowdy action. Nixon-Smiley’s ranch rodeo producers continue to liven up the action by adding their version of South Texas football on horseback, using live pigskins (feral hogs) as footballs.
Fourteen teams, including five of the top seven in the circuit standings, participated Oct. 20 in the final qualifying contest of the South Texas Ranch Rodeo circuit to accumulate points to enter the finals, to be held Feb. 24 in San Antonio.
Proceeds of the Nixon-Smiley Ranch Rodeo, held in conjunction with a wild hog cook-off, support the FFA; Family, Career and Community Leaders Association; and the 4-H programs of the Nixon-Smiley Consolidated Independent School District.
First-round events included steer mugging, branding, and the ever-popular wild pig race. All teams were competing against each other, as well as the clock, since the six teams with the fastest combined scores advanced to the final round.
First up was Nixon-Smiley’s signature contest -- the wild pig race. In this event, team members catch a designated animal from a trailer of feral hogs, hand it to a mounted team member, who races with the squealing passenger around a barrel, then hands the hog back to his teammates to replace it in the trailer.
The Briscoe Ranch led the way with a 39.12-second run, followed by Pioneer Trucking with a 39.85, and the South Texas Cattle Co., 40.28.
The Star Bar Ranch, the J.C. Ranch, and the Crazy Heart Ranch had a tough time in this event, since their horses refused to carry their squealing cargo. The challenge led to cutting horse demonstrations, bronc rides, and even a pig race/roping contest, where one of the pigs got loose and made a run for freedom.
If there was an award for the most entertaining run, the Crazy Heart Ranch took it, hands down. It seemed like their pig must have been greased, since the hog was dropped. The feral hog made a dash for freedom, heading into the sunset. When the escapee got out of the arena, a posse of other teams waiting in the far end of the arena joined in and lassos flew. This had fans on their feet to watch the happenings in and out of the arena. The fleeing pig soon was caught and returned to captivity.
After the hilarity, the Briscoe Ranch team returned to take first place in the branding contest in an impressive 24.66 seconds. They were followed by the Paloma Cattle Co. with a 28.84, and the L&R Cattle Co., with a 33.28-second time.
The Pioneer Trucking team upset the Briscoe Ranch’s hopes of a clean sweep in the qualifying round by winning the steer-mugging contest with a time of 33.19 seconds. The contest is similar to calf roping, but uses larger livestock. Briscoe Ranch took second place with 41.47, followed by Cold Leather’s third-place finish with a time of 44.41 seconds.
Four of the top six San Antonio rodeo circuit contenders were among the top six teams to advance to the final round to compete in the trailer loading, the stampede race, and the wild cow milking.
The top six teams returning to the arena for the finals included the No. 1-ranked Paloma Cattle Co., the Biscoe Ranch (No. 2), L&R Cattle (No. 5), and the South Texas Cattle Marketing (No. 6). Rounding out the top six teams were Pioneer Trucking and Gringo Fencing.
The South Texas Cattle Marketing team outpaced the Briscoe Ranch to win first place in 26.9 seconds, versus Briscoe Ranch’s time of 29.09 in the trailer-loading contest. The Paloma Cattle Co. placed third.
Next came the stampede race. Cowboys had to pull on their boots, saddle their horses, and round up two stray animals into a pen. L&R Cattle took the lead with a time of 1:17.47. Lady luck was on the side of the Pioneer Trucking team, since the cowboys were able to round up their steers without roping to finish second. The Briscoe Ranch finished in third place.
The finale of the evening was the wild cow-milking contest and the cows lived up to the name. These bovine mamas were not happy, and two charged the cowboys when pressed to share their milk. Unlike the open range, the cowboys were grateful for pipe fences, since on more than one occasion, the cowboys used the fence to escape.
Gringo Fencing took first place with a 22.44-second time, followed by Briscoe Ranch’s 24.65 and L&R Cattle’s third-place finish with a time of 34.07 seconds.
When the final tally was counted and the dust settled, only .82 seconds separated the third-, fourth-, and fifth-place finishers. The Briscoe Ranch finished in first place with a combined time of 136.96 for the final three events. L&R Cattle accumulated 143.85 for a second-place finish. The Pioneer Trucking team finished third with 150.37. Rounding out the top six were South Texas Cattle Marketing (151.16), Gringo Fencing (151.19), and the Paloma Cattle Co. (208.71).
The Paloma Cattle Co. and the Briscoe Ranch will face each other again in San Antonio in late February in the San Antonio Ranch Rodeo finals.