At the 2013 Grimes County Fair, Jake DeHaven competed with two friends in team penning and team sorting events. Unlike speed events like barrel racing, these events are a test of true working cowboy skills on horseback. In fact, the event was created to enable cowboys to showcase their horsemanship skills. Because one of the boys on the team is sixteen years old, they had to compete in the senior division.
In team penning, the contestants are given a number announced over the loudspeaker as the time begins. The number corresponds to three calves in a herd of thirty. They are to sort the three calves out and pen them in a small pen at the opposite end of the arena. The fastest time wins. Deductions are made if any other calves cross the sorting line. It is harder to do than to describe in writing.
In team sorting, the contestants are also given a number as the time begins. It is similar to team penning, as they have to cut the calf with the said number out. Then they have to go in numerical order and cut out the remaining cattle. For example, if the judge called #5. Then they would remove #5 and then 1,2,3, and 4 in order. The fastest time wins with deductions given for mistakes in the order.
This was Jake’s first time to compete in either event. It was a joy to see him out there giving it his best effort. There are so many factors in a successful run. The cowboy has to be focused and paying attention. He/she has to have a reliable horse with cow sense. Together they make up one team. Then add two more riders and their horses and the teamwork needed increases.
We are proud of Jake and the other members of his team. They brought home the 3rd place prize in the Senior Division for both events. Regardless of the prize, they gained valuable experience that can only translate into better horsemanship skills on the ranch. At home or in the arena, Jake can do real cowboy work.