Few outside the cattle ranching communities of America can grasp the importance and meaning of ranching as a uniquely American way of life, a world tied to land, water, weather and the economy, as well as America’s own heritage. That heritage includes cattle and the many families that raise them while feeding our country’s growing population.
In a world where scientific improvements affect every aspect of farming and ranching,
from improved feed to veterinary care, much about cattle ranching is still vested in age-old
traditions perfected over centuries. The cowboy and cowgirl still prevail as the responsible individuals to nurture these herds, growing the finest meat on the hoof ever imagined.
How they do it and why have been the subject of books and film, a challenging job requiring a vast array of skills, courage and commitment. In this day and age of shortcuts and easy fixes, one might think the younger generation would want to minimize the requirements and look for the quickest shortcuts to the tasks. But the exact opposite is true. Today’s ranch-raised men and women have discovered the value in tradition. The old ways of doing things are full of accomplishment and worth, from rawhide braiding to roping and dragging calves to the fire at branding time – they want to know it all.
Up until recently, most could never see these skills in action. An occasional dude ranch vacation might lend some exposure. But today, ranch rodeos all across the country give competitors and viewers alike a chance to see and appreciate the skills required to function on a real cattle ranch. The more than capable women of the WRRA have proven they are the active stewards of this heritage.
Thanks to ranch rodeo, a new generation of young buckaroos share their pride and enthusiasm with audiences who applaud the ongoing saga between man and beast, horse and rider. Ranch rodeo may be the very key to ranch preservation, encouraging excellence while sharing an American tradition with new audiences.
Corinne Joy Brown
WRRA Media Liaison