story by Ruth Nicolaus Ty Fenster is the 2021 Western States Ranch Rodeo Association National Finals Rodeo All-Around cowboy. The Hyannis, Nebraska man won points […]
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Event Spotlight: Winnemucca’s Ranch Hand Rodeo
story by Lee Raine and Mike Laughlin
March 2-6, 2016 the city of Winnemucca, Nevada hosted the 27th Annual Winnemucca Ranch Hand Rodeo. It is the oldest, largest and one of the most exciting ranch rodeos in Nevada. Thirty teams competed for bragging rights and prizes in the events of saddle bronc riding, steer stopping, wild mugging, trailer loading, team Roping, Ranch Doctoring, and Team Branding. This ranch rodeo has now grown into one of Winnemucca’s biggest weekend competitions. This ranch hand rodeo is sanctioned by the Western States Ranch Rodeo Association; the winning team will be invited to the 2016 WSRRA National Finals in November 3-6 in Winnemucca, Nevada.
Almost thirty years ago, three ranching brothers decided to kick off a little friendly competition between neighbors by hosting the first annual Ranch Hand Rodeo in Winnemucca, Nevada. Tim, Hank and Dan Dufurrena had the idea to draw together teams who would compete in saddle bronc riding, cow mugging, calf roping, team branding, team roping and ranch doctoring. The competitors were to be ranch hands rather than PRCA Cowboys.
Originally it was held in September coinciding with the fall horse races. It enjoyed a steady but moderate following.
The Winnemucca Event Center was completed in 2001 and event center directors decided to have the Ranch Hand Rodeo kick off the 2002 season in the new building. Entries doubled and since then the rodeo weekend has grown into more than a rodeo. This WSRRA sanctioned event weekend now features the Stock Horse Competition, Horse Sale ,Cow Dog Trials, Western Trade Show and kids’ events. In 2016, wild horse racing and barrel racing were added to the contests.
Despite numerous changes, the Winnemucca Ranch Hand Rodeo has remained one of the most popular across Nevada. Reasons for that include the facts that it is the first event of the ranch rodeo season in Nevada and occurs at a time when real ranch folks are able to participate and to come to watch and to visit.
The Ranch, Rope and Performance Horse Sale also gathers horse sellers and buyers to Winnemucca from all over the Western United States. This year 44 horses were sold for the average price of $6443. The top 10 horses averaged $10,440 and the high selling horse consigned by Sharon Brown of Winnemucca, Nevada “Not Smart Smokin” sold for $17,500.