WRCA World Championship Ranch Rodeo

Razzle Dazzle Rey earns top horse award at year-end event.

Ranch Horse Journal

Ranching Heritage-bred Top Horse TRR Sharlenas Kat and T.J. Roberts. PHOTO: Holly Clanahan

The Amarillo-based Working Ranch Cowboys Association has had its World Championship Ranch Rodeo in Amarillo for 22 years now, drawing ranches from across the country. This year, 23 ranch teams qualified for the pinnacle event held November 9-12, and the cowboys came from Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Texas, Wyoming, Nebraska and New Mexico. But it was a ranch team from just a few miles down the road that took home the championship.

Wilson Cattle from nearby Canyon, Texas, joined forces with Haystack Cattle Co., based in Lubbock, Texas, to create an unbeatable ranch team. Team captain Rodey Wilson has, with different teammates, qualified for 13 World Championship Ranch Rodeos, and this was his third time to win.

“This means a lot,” he said.

Wilson Cattle runs up to 10,000 wheat cattle and a small cow/calf operation. Haystack Cattle Co. was founded in 2005 and is owned and operated by Jed and Sam Middleton, running up to 1,500 mama cows and a small broodmare band.

Horsepower, of course, is an important part of any ranch rodeo team, and Wilson had an MVP on his side. Lightning Blue Jazz, a 13-year-old bay roan gelding, was named Reserve Top Horse at the championship rodeo, and he has won Top Horse three times in the past. “Roscoe” is by Mecom Blue, who has more than $17,000 in National Cutting Horse Association earnings. His dam, Ol Lucy Brown, also has NCHA earnings.

In the individual events, Wilson-Haystack placed first in wild-cow milking, third in team branding, fourth in ranch bronc riding and sixth in stray gathering.

“I think we did the best in the (wild) cow milking,” Wilson said. The team clocked times of :40.76 and :29.28.

For those who haven’t seen it, the event calls for one cowboy on horseback to rope a full-grown (and usually irritated) cow that often outweighs the cowboy’s horse. With a loop around the cow’s neck, a ground crew of three cowboys then grabs the rope, the cow’s head, her tail – whatever means necessary – to stop her and hold her still enough for a milker to squeeze some milk into a longneck bottle. Though it seems a little wild and crazy, the event mimics what might happen on a ranch if a calf has to be bottle fed.

Wilson gave credit to his other wild-cow-milking teammates, as well.

“We have a really good mugger (Mike Crump) and a decent cow milker (Tanner Allen),” Wilson said, grinning. Other Wilson-Haystack ranch team members were Clay Paige and Jed Middleton.

For all of the men, who rope and doctor cattle on a regular basis in their jobs as working ranch cowboys, it came together when it counted.

Roping and doctoring at home compared to the stray-gathering event – where two sets of headers and heelers chase after and tie down yearlings – “is pretty much the exact same,” Paige said, except for one aspect that makes it a bit easier: “It’s in an arena and not in a pasture.”

The skills honed at home every day paid off.

“It’s a good opportunity for guys like us that ride horses and work all the time to bring the horses you’ve worked on to town and kind of show off what you’ve done and the horses you’ve made,” Allen said. “I think it’s awesome.”

Burns Ranch of Henrietta, Texas, were reserve world champions; third place went to Lonesome Pine Ranch of Cedar Point, Kansas. Finishing fourth were last year’s world champions, Jolly Ranch and S&L Ranch of Agate and Lamar, Colorado.

Connor Grokett of Robbins Ranch at Cottonwood Falls, Kansas, was honored as the Top Hand. The reserve Top Hand was given to Paul Osgood of Lonesome Pine Ranch.

This year, the 5-year-old gelding Razzle Dazzle Rey was honored as the Top Horse. He is ridden and owned by John C. Brian.

Brian rides for the Veale Ranch and Triangle Ranch team. They qualified to the event by winning the Old Settler’s Reunion Ranch in Roaring Springs, Texas.

Brian is a sixth-generation rancher and horseman, and works for Veale Ranch. He and his wife, Beth, and children Kaden, 6, and Cannon, 5, live in Weatherford, Texas. He trains ranch and rope horses and works as a day laborer.

Razzle Dazzle Rey was bred in Weatherford by Jim Calhoun Jr. He is by Stylish Rey and out of the Red Hot Line mare Razzle Dazzle Pistol.

The top Ranching Heritage-bred horse was TRR Sharlena Kat. The gray gelding was bred and is owned by Ranching Heritage Breeder Tongue River Ranch of Paducah, Texas.

Ridden by T.J. Roberts, the gray horse known as “Moose” has earned numerous top horse awards. He is sired by the ranch’s Playgun stallion, TRR Big Iron. He is out of the Peptos Stylish Oak mare TRR Miss Smart Lena.

Moose’s second dam is Sharlena, a good daughter of Smart Little Lena who has produced multiple performers. She is the second dam of TRR Sharlenas Pepcid, an accomplished show horse and the top seller at this year’s ranch horse sale at the Western Heritage Classic.

The team competed in the RHAA show, which was sponsored by the Ranch Horse Journal, and won the senior class. They then came back to win the run-off between division winners to claim the overall ranch horse competition win before adding the Ranching Heritage award during the world championship rodeo.

The Working Ranch Cowboys Association hosts ranch rodeos across the West culminating in the World Championship Ranch Rodeo. The WRCA works to showcases the skills of the working ranch cowboy and to raises money funds for the WRCA Foundation, which provides scholarship assistance and crisis assistance to working ranch cowboys and their immediate family.

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