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Powder River Days, Sheridan, Wyoming Powder River Proud
story by by Jennifer Denison
Rooted in cowboy traditions, Powder River Days is an annual event where working cowboys can showcase their handiness and the skills and their horses. This year’s event was held June 9 to 11 in Sheridan, Wyoming, and included events emphasizing horsemanship and ranch horses in which the entire family could compete. It also included a women’s and open ranch rodeo and ranch bronc riding sanctioned by the Western States Ranch Rodeo Association.
The event kicked off on Friday night with the women’s ranch rodeo. Northwestern teams competed in four events: sort and doctor, sort and pen, head and heel calf branding and head and heel cow milking. The Montana team that included Riata Smith, Robin Smith and Alix Whittmayercame out on top. The win qualifies the team for the WSRRA Finals in Winnemucca, Nevada. Riata was rewarded for her bold riding and roping and support of her team with the Top Hand award.
The ranch cutting and ranch horse competition dominated the day on Saturday with classes for youth and beginning horses and riders up to seasoned bridle horses and horsemen. That night, the E Heart Cattle Company team–Brett Heggie, Wade Tibbits, John Ward and Luke Wiggins–took home top honors and earned a spot at the WSRRA Finals.
The event culminated in the WSRRA ranch bronc riding. Twenty-nine cowboys from Texas to Canada competed on Burch Rodeo Company broncs in the 8 Seconds Whiskey Tour Stop. After a long go, the riders who made it to the buzzer and received a score came back for a short round to determine the winner of the average. Devyn Sisneros of Santa Rosa, New Mexico, came won the average with a 90 in the first round and a 94 in the short round. Not only was it Sisneros first WSRRA ranch bronc riding, but it was also his first time in Wyoming. The 24-year-old competed in saddle bronc riding and team roping growing up, but when he stepped on his first bronc at age 16 he was hooked. The Burch broncs at Powder River Days didn’t disappoint.
“You can’t beat a ranch bronc riding with guys on Burch broncs with 8 grand added,” says Sisneros. “The first bronc I rode was a little heavy on the front end, but she could dang sure buck. I slid probably six inches of rein all night. Every horse bucked, and you sure had to show up.”
Produced by Toby and Amy Vineyard of Arvada, Wyoming, Powder River Days has become a tradition for working cowboys interested in competing. With classes for the entire family, plus a benefit roping and muley roping, it has become one of the most popular events in the northern range. For more information, visit the Powder River Days Facebook page or powderriverdays.com.