By: Reginald Tiangha
First off, you may have noticed that I’ve ditched the use of all capital letters in the title. Doesn’t really look good with more than two words, but it shouldn’t detract from the fact that Team Cattle Penning (sometimes abbreviated to Team Penning for short) is one of the Stampede’s best kept secrets when it comes to fast paced and exciting events appropriate for all ages.
Taking place in the Saddledome, horse and rider teams of three have 60 seconds to separate three specifically identified cattle from a herd of 30 on one side of the arena, and maneuver them into a 16′ x 24′ pen at the opposite side.
It sounds simple in theory, but in practice can be very difficult.
You see, most of those heifers have attitudes. Sometimes, a penning team might manage to separate out two of them from the herd, but the third one proves to be problematic. Or, the particular cow that they’re trying to separate out has made friends and they may have to deal with a wrong-numbered cow that may follow it out. Or, their friendship may be so strong that the team simply can’t separate any of them out and are forced to watch helplessly as the timer runs down and the cows silently mock them.
What makes it fascinating and exciting to watch is that success really boils down to teamwork and strategy. The team has to work together in tandem in order to outsmart the cows, and sometimes may have to choose to settle for two cows instead of three.
Easy to follow along, it’s something that really has to be seen to be appreciated, and is yet another event that is FREE with admission. Scheduling information via the on-line Stampede Planner can be found here.