450 cattle penning teams compete at North Thompson Agriplex

210 head of healthy young cattle were on hand to give the riders a “run for their money”

(Top) Two-hundred-and-ten head of numbered cattle wait outside the North Thompson Agriplex for their turn in herds of 30 inside the arena. (Below) More fast action as a youth rider cuts a number two animal from the herd while an adult rider works to keep the other cattle from following.

(Top) Two-hundred-and-ten head of numbered cattle wait outside the North Thompson Agriplex for their turn in herds of 30 inside the arena. (Below) More fast action as a youth rider cuts a number two animal from the herd while an adult rider works to keep the other cattle from following.

The BC Team Cattle Penners Association turned out at the North Thompson Agriplex last weekend with 450 teams of three riders each to compete for just under $6,000 in prize money for the two day event.  Riders attended from numerous B.C. communities; including Vanderhoof, Prince George, Quesnel, and the lower mainland.  Others made the trip from Oregon to the south, and Alberta to the east.

Two-hundred-and-ten head of Seven O Ranches Ltd. healthy young cattle were on hand to give the riders a “run for their money”, leaving many with no points to show for their efforts, and giving others an opportunity to get on the leader board.

The action in this event was fast and exciting for all concerned, the horses seemed to love their job, and the riders whooped and hollered as they quickly moved the cattle around the arena.

Spectators cheered and clapped for favourites, and they seemed to especially enjoy watching the youth riders who displayed outstanding horsemanship and the ability to “read cattle” (understanding what the animal will do next, and which way it will go).

This event is very much a family affair, and their is plenty of camaraderie and good natured fun evident throughout.    There is also a healthy competitive spirit for those competing in this timed event that pits a team of three riders against a clock and 30 head of numbered cattle.

Each team is given 60 seconds to quickly cut from the herd the three head of cattle sporting the team’s designated number.  They must then quickly move the cattle to the far end of the arena and corral all of them into a small pen before the time out buzzer sounds at one minute.  It’s all done at a gallop, with quick starts, fast turns, and many horses running the cowboys right out from under their hats.

Teams can be comprised of any combination of three riders, which gives many competitors the opportunity to go back into the arena numerous times.

The BC Team Cattle Penners will be back at the North Thompson Agriplex again on April 25 and 26, 2015.   You can find more about the BC Team Cattle Penners Association and how you can get involved, by going to:  www.bctcpa.net.

For more about what’s on at the the North Thompson Agriplex go to: www.fallfair-rodeo.com.