2014 - Volume #38, Issue #6, Page #24[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
These Cowboys Milk Wild Cows
Teams of 4 cowboys compete in the timed event. One cowboy rides a horse and ropes the wild cow. Another, called a mugger, holds the cow on the front end. A third cowboy holds the tail while the fourth milks a “pourable” amount of milk into a bottle and delivers it to the judges. Winning times are typically less than 1 1/2 min. The winning time in 2014 was 52 seconds.
Mike McLean at the Bar U Ranch near Longview, Alberta, holds a rodeo each year in August and the wild cow milking event has become a star attraction. McLean explains that wild cow milking dates back to 1923 at the Calgary Stampede. It was discontinued at some point but the Bar U Ranch has brought it back.
“Ranch rodeos like ours are designed to hold events that are like what happens on a ranch with real cowboys,” McLean says. The wild cows used in the event come from a herd of 30 cattle that roam freely on the 367-acre ranch.
His personal favorite is the “broke horse race.” A cowboy ropes a horse and another cowboy puts on the blanket and saddle and tack, then rides it. Though the horses are broke, the speed and excitement turns it into “a very wooly event,” McLean says.
Other events include team doctoring, sorting and branding (with paint).
Ranch rodeos are very popular, McLean notes, and draw good crowds.
“The big thing is you need an experienced core of people who know what they are doing,” he suggests for people interested in organizing an event. “There are lots of ranch rodeo associations around to get more information.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Bar U Ranch National Historic Site, P.O. Box 168, Longview, Alta., Canada T0L 1H0 (ph 403 395-2212; www.pc.gc.ca/baru).
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