Ranch Rodeo offers real cowboy action

A working ranch cowboy competes in saddle bronc riding during the JP Ranch Rodeo at the Tehama District Fairgrounds. The event will take place Friday, Jan. 17 at 4 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 18 at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.


Dozens of honest-to-goodness working ranch cowboys will be gathering at the Tehama County District Fairgrounds to compete in the 25th annual JP Ranch Rodeo on Jan. 17 and 18.

This isn’t the usual professional cowboys rodeo, instead, the two-day event offers competition consisting of the day-to-day workings of the ranch cowboy and his horse. 

Three-man teams representing ranches from the western United States will be competing in the rodeo event held in the fairground’s Pauline Davis Pavilion. 

A few of the ranch rodeo events are unique to this type of rodeo and not seen at traditional rodeos, such as ranch doctoring, sorting, and calf branding. 

During the timed ranch doctoring event a three-man team of cowboys separates then heads and heels a designated cow from a herd. A veterinarian then places a mark between the cows eyes and the cow is let go. Shortest time wins. 

In calf branding the three-man teams must brand three calves. One man on the ground will brand, while the other two cowboys on horseback will head and heel the calf. 

Ranch sorting also uses a three-man team which will sort cattle out of a designated group of cattle. There will be seven color groups of seven head each and taking turns the cowboys must separate their color of cattle out of the herd and run them between two barrels. This must be done in a three minute time limit and penalties are plenty. 

The rodeo starts at 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17, with such traditional ranch jobs as herd counting, followed by Calcutta Teams. Then at 6 p.m. the rodeo begins with team branding, sorting, doctoring, rancho horse competition, calf roping and ranch bronc riding.

Events start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18 with some of the same action, followed at 2 p.m. with the preliminary round for junior dummy roping competition, with finals at 5:30 p.m. The live entertainment of Pickled Willies will top off the day at 9 p.m.

The rodeo finals will begin at 6 p.m. when the top six teams come back to compete for the big win.

The top six teams will return to the finals with a clean score at 6 p.m. that evening. 

Admission for the working cowboy rodeo is $10 for Friday and Saturday morning; and $20 for the finals on Saturday night; $30 for all three rodeos. Kids age 6 and under attend free of charge. Presale tickes are available at Hawes Farm Supply and the Loft, both in Red Bluff.

Contestants competing in this event are members of the Working Ranch Cowboy Association, which was created in March 1995 in Amarillo, Texas. 

The first and most important rule of ranch rodeo is all participants must make their living from a ranch. A working ranch is defined as any ranch which has a minimum of 300 head cow/calf operation or runs at least 500 yearlings for a minimum of six months of the year. 

Making a Living is defined as deriving at least 90 percent of one’s income taking care of cattle on a ranch.


Friday, January 17:

4 p.m.: Herd Counting - All Teams

5 p.m.: Calcutta of Teams

6 p.m.: Ranch Rodeo - Events include: Team Branding, Sorting, Doctoring, Ranch Horse Competition, Calf Roping, & Ranch Bronc Riding

9 p.m.: Live Entertainment - Pickled Willies

Saturday, January 18:

10 a.m.: Finish remaining events of first round.

2 p.m.: Prelims for Jr Dummy Ropers compete for Finals/12 & Under

5:30 p.m.: Jr Dummy Roping Finals / Top 3 in each age group

6 p.m.:Top Six teams come back to Finals

9 p.m.: Live Entertainment - Pickled Willies

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