This was the biggest part of our fund-raising weekend. 30 riders each paid $30 for 3 chances to win a fancy belt buckle. Our cattle provider donated the use of the cattle for this class, so all of the proceeds went to the charity! I've posted a couple of photos of 2-man ranch sorting before, but I wanted you to be able to see the whole scene. So, I took a deep breath, climbed up to the judge's stand and stood on the very edge, with only a 2X4 keeping me from falling a long way down. (The things I'll do for a photo!)
Anyway, here you can see the 'figure-8' that we set up with metal fence panels. The gate at the bottom is where the riders go in; the cattle come in from the other side. They are bunched into the further pen and the riders have to sort them out numerically into the closest pen, without letting out the 2 blank cows. They take turns riding into the herd and guarding the gate. The judges are on either side of the gate, clicking a stop watch as each cow runs out. The team that won sorted out all 10 cows in 66.66 seconds!! It was amazing to watch and I'll upload the video as soon as I can.
Normally, riders sign up for their rides with friends. To add to the drama, we made this class a draw class, meaning their names were all put into a bucket and drawn randomly to make up the teams. (That was my job yesterday!) Some people ended up riding with a stranger, some with a person they didn't really like, and some beginners got paired up with professionals. It made for some very interesting teamwork, because believe me, they ALL wanted those buckles. The really fun part is seeing riders pushing their limits, forgetting their nerves and riding harder and faster than they knew that they could, trying to WIN!
Tomorrow you'll meet the winners, and our very own survivor.....