Rodeo Is More Than Just Bronco Busting

ALPINE, TX (Ben Caxton) — The Annual Big Bend Ranch Rodeo is underway today and tomorrow in Alpine. Everyone from kids to adults will be visiting to see the fun. But there’s a serious side to the event as well, sponsored by the Working Ranch Cowboys Association. Roxana Hill of Valentine radio News interviewed one of the organizers of the Big Bend Ranch Rodeo, Chachi Hawkins, Wednesday evening. “They have an arm that’s a foundation. It provides scholarships for kids who are in ranching families. And it also, if a cowboy gets hurt, they don’t always have insurance. And so they can go to the WRCA and they can get some financial assistance when they need it the most. Right now, there’s several cowboys I know of that are in the hospital from ranching accidents. And they’re receiving help from the WRCA.” Chachi says this rodeo is not quite the same things as a professional rodeo. “The whole premise behind the Ranch Rodeo is to celebrate the ranching heritage and to highlight the cowboy’s skills at being a cowboy. And so the events are things that would happen on a ranch. Like team sorting, and team branding, and team doctoring. There is a bronco riding, but it’s as it would happen on a ranch. So they would use a ranch saddle, and that kind of thing. So, very different from a pro rodeo.” Cowboys who compete at these events must meet eligibility requirements. Not anyone off the street could join in. “It’s not just a bunch of guys who decide to you know get a team and go enter. It’s legitimate ranching. has to be a legitimate ranch. They have to own so many cows and that sort of thing. The cowboys have to have earned a certain amount of money at the ranch. It’s really everything that celebrates a ranching heritage.” Chachi says the Big Bend Ranch Rodeo is one of many held by the WRCA across the country, with winners getting to compete in a championship event this fall. “We’re sanctioned by the Working Ranch Cowboys Association which has 24 of these rodeos all around the country. And the winner of each of these rodeos gets an automatic bid to their World Championship in Amarillo in November. And so that’s what all of these cowboys are working for. It gives them a chance to highlight their skills, to compete against another ranch team.” The group locally is comprised of between twelve and fifteen committee members. “Each one of us has a role that we play in putting on the rodeo. It takes a lot of folks to put on a rodeo. I’m just one of ’em.” The rodeo continues today and tomorrow on the campus of Sul Ross University in Alpine.

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