Blue Sky Team Penning Club AGM Highlights

Submitted by:
Michelle Buck |

The Blue Sky Team Penning Club held their Annual General Meeting on March 18, 2016 at the home of Stan and Sharon Foster, Benito, MB.

File photo. Click for a larger version.

Here are the AGM highlights:
1. Membership fees will remain unchanged at $80/person for the season or $15/day for drop ins.
2. Weekly penning practices will start on Thursday, May 12, 2016 at 6:30 pm (MB time). Rain date Sunday at 3 pm. Practices start with a mini-roundup and cattle tagging.
3. Team Sorting (Ranch Sorting) practice is tentatively scheduled for June. This is intended to be in addition to the penning, not in place of it. Details still to be determined.
4. A spring trail ride is planned for May 21, and a jackpot for May 22, 2016.
5. The fall jackpot is scheduled for September 4, 2016
6. Fundraising plans are underway with goals of having enhanced prize payouts for both jackpots and funds for facility improvements.
7. RULE CHANGES: CTCPA has implemented two major rule changes this year with the intent of reducing wear and tear on cattle.

In brief:
1. NO TRASH RULE – If any unassigned cow (trash) crosses the cattle/start line at any time during the run, the team will be disqualified.
2. AUTOMATIC TIME – Time will automatically be called as soon as all four (4) feet of all three (3) cattle are in the pen and all of the riders and horses are on the pen side of the line.

Blue Sky will be implementing the first rule, but possibly not the second. Rules will be announced at the start of each event so that there will be no uncertainty.
8. Our new bleachers will be completed with a roof and stairs and a plan is underway for building a judges stand.
9. Events will continue to be posted on our Facebook Page, on our answering machine (204-539-2345) and on our signboard at the highway outside the Blue Sky Arena. We are an outdoor venue and subject to the weather, CALL BEFORE YOU DRIVE. Please note that proper western attire including heeled boots, cowboy hat/helmet, and long sleeve western style shirt are the dress code for our jackpots.

The local Roping Club reorganized last year and will be hosting practices again this season.
Swan River High School Rodeo will be held on May 14 & 15
MTPA will be hosting a beginners and #1 penning clinic in Brandon May 21 & 22
Hudson Bay, SK events are on June 11 & 12. No word yet if Team Penning is planned.
A local 4-H club is having a Taylor Douglas clinic June 11 & 12.
See you in May!

What is Team Penning and Ranch Sorting?
Team Penning and Ranch Sorting are sporting events that involve the movement of cattle on horseback by rider teams. Created to preserve that traditional skill sets of working cow horses and handlers, Penning and Sorting challenge modern riders and mounts to compete in a timed event to identify, move and pen specific cattle from a herd in a limited amount of time. Penning and Sorting are timed events that involve speed, precision and strategic planning in order to quickly and accurately cut and pen the cattle.

In Penning, teams of three horse and rider combinations use their combined athleticism, horsemanship and general “cowiness” to humanely separate particular cows and herd them into the penning area in under 60 seconds. Time is of the essence in Penning and Sorting, making this challenging sport even more exciting as the clock ticks. In seconds, the most skilled horses and riders can find their specified cow, separate it from the herd and move it to the penning area without ever touching the animal. Penning and Sorting offer participants the opportunity to incorporate all of their working cow horse skills in a fast-paced, fun, team-oriented competition while embracing the roots of the western lifestyle.

Ranch sorting requires that two riders move a herd of ten cattle in numerical order from one round pen into a separate adjoining pen in sixty seconds or less. There is a twelve foot opening between the two pens, and also two un-numbered ‘trash’ cows that are mingled throughout the herd. In both penning and sorting, the numbers do matter – so any cow that crosses the line, either out of order or carrying the wrong number, will result in a ‘no time’ for the team.

One of the most appealing aspects of Team Penning and Ranch Sorting is the diversity of horse breeds in the sports. While some may consider these riding discipline best suited for stock-type horses, competitions are open to every breed of horse, registered or not. Additionally, both events are considered to be family-friendly and mom, dad and kids can compete together on the same team and be very competitive as their skills permit.

Team penning and ranch sorting held locally in Benito, MB are entry level competition and we welcome all ages and experiences of rider and horse to attend. We look forward to seeing you!