WRCA Ranch Rodeo Finals 2009 - Amarillo, Texas
Just when you think that the old west is dead and gone, you ride into the Texas-panhandle town of Amarillo in early November and find out that is not true. For five action-packed days the Working Ranch Cowboys Association Finals is in full swing.
Ranch families can enjoy this family-orientated working-cowboy event where they have a weekend away from the ranch, visit with their friends, and enjoy the show. All of the cowboys who participate in the ranch rodeo finals must make most of their living cowboying on a ranch. This show is about and for the working cowboy, not the weekend rodeo cowboy.
Randy Whipple, President of the WRCA said, “This is the largest event of the year in the Amarillo Civic Center. We will have over 40,000 spectators show up. We have grown each year for the past 14 years. We have a huge trade show, with vendors from all over the Unites States. This year, which is the 14th year in Amarillo, we dedicated the show to the ladies of ranching These are the folks who take care of the children, cook the meals and help brand the calves. Without the ladies, ranches would be in bad shape. We salute the ladies in ranching.”
Randy went on to say, ”We fill the hotels and restaurants and most of our performances at the Civic center are sold out. The Ranch Rodeo and Trade Show have a tremendous monetary impact for Amarillo.” Amarillo is also the home of the American Quarter Horse Association administrative offices, the Quarter Horse Hall of Fame, and museum.
History of WRCA
Eighteen people met in Amarillo Texas, In March of 1995, to form WRCA. The initial 200 founding members were ranch owners, foremen and actual ranch cowboys, as well as men and women from other walks of life across the United States, who believed in the charter of the WRCA.
All of the members have a common belief in the ideals and work ethic of the working ranch cowboy, and they want to keep our western heritage alive in our fast-changing world. Many people grew up with cowboys as role models, and WRCA wants to ensure that future generations have the same opportunity.
It was their desire to see WRCA grow throughout the world, supporting the ranch cowboy in every country. Cowboys have the same needs, ideals and work ethics, regardless of the language they speak or the nations they call home.
WRCA selects teams that compete in each year’s World Championship Ranch Rodeo Finals through a network of sanctioned rodeos across the western United States and Canada throughout the year that include at least four of the ranch rodeo events.
Bob Moorhouse, one of the WRCA Directors said, ”One of our goals is to bring the best working cowboys from around the United States and Canada to compete at our Working Ranch Rodeo Finals. We want the Flat Hats from The Great Basin, The Vaqueros from California, the Brush Hands from Arizona and the Swamp Cowboys from Louisiana and Florida, along with cowboys from Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas and the Northern Plains states, Montana and Wyoming and the Canadian Cowboys to compete for four days for prize money and bragging rights.”
Working Ranch Cowboys Foundation The Working Ranch Cowboys Foundation has grown out of the WRCA. This group focuses on raising and distributing funds for the Crisis and Scholarship funds that have been contributed to by hundreds of people from around the United States. Numerous groups raise money for specific injured cowboys and young people seeking a better education and utilize the WRCF as the delivery system for these funds. Groups that want to make a difference can use the Foundations organization to further their cause.
The Foundation is growing at a rapid rate and the association is proud to announce that their next project is to build the WRCA Retirement Ranch, a facility for retired Cowboys. This Ranch will give lifelong Cowboys room, board, a place to work their horses, medical facilities and cows to raise, following the motto “A Cowboy on the Ranch is a Happy Cowboy.”
Ranch Bronc Riding
The Ranch Rodeo Finals kicks off each of the four nights at 7:00 PM, except the final rounds on Sunday are at 2:00 pm. The classic event, Ranch Bronc Riding, kicks off the show. Harry Vold from Colorado, furnished the bucking horses, and they did buck. Other competitions include “wild-cow milking” where the teams try to rope and hold a cow and place a few drops of milk in a pop bottle and “stray gathering” where two team members on horseback rope and stretch out a steer and tie it down. Team sorting and team branding are the other events. The show closes with another section of Ranch Bronc Riding. There is also a ranch horse completion.
The 2009 WRCA Finals was a big success. There was a chance for people to do some shopping and visit with friends. This WRCA Finals has become an annual social and shopping event for ranch families and spectators from across the country.
John Dickson, owner of Jedco Leather in Hedley Texas, sums up the Texas spirit, saying, “Everyone all over the world where I have traveled think us Texans are different and do a lot of strange things different than most anyone else from the USA. I think it’s because Texas was an independent republic before it joined the states, and many families want to go back to that. We work hard.”
Hadley Barrett- longtime PRCA Rodeo announcer, ranch raised and the voice of WRCA said: “When you hear the National Anthem played by Lacy Dale on a fiddle, not a violin, you know you are in Texas.”
Make your plans to attend next years WRCA Finals you will not be disappointed!!
Mailing address: P. O. Box 7765, Amarillo, TX 79114-7765
Shipping address: 2750 Duniven Circle, Ste. B, Amarillo, TX 79109
Article by Mike Laughlin- days works for ranches out of Lamoille and Fallon, NV and writes.
Photos by Lee Raine