Ranch Rodeo vs. Rodeo: A Basic Guide To Rodeos- How Cowboy Are You?

You’ve heard the saying “Is this your first rodeo?” How about “Is this your first ranch rodeo??”

At Schwieter Land & Livestock we can say “This ain’t our first rodeo”.

If you’re new to the sport of rodeo or aren’t familiar with all the lingo and are still seeking some clarification, we’re here to clear it up.

Even if you haven’t participated, or even watched a rodeo in person, you probably have a general idea of the setup. Movies like “8 Seconds” and TV series like “Heartland” have exposed mainstream America to the “Cowboy Way” and rodeo life.


Standard rodeo events include:

Saddle Bronc Riding, Tie Down Calf Roping, Steer Wrestling, Bareback Riding, Team Roping, Barrel Racing and Bull Riding. High school rodeos also include Breakaway Roping, Poles and Goat Tying.

Ranch Rodeo

The lesser-known, less commercialized, rodeos might be the “ranch rodeos”. What’s the difference? What makes it “Ranchy”?

The ranch rodeo competition is a compilation of activities that might actually occur on a ranch, but with the added element of a timed-event.

A mix of events are included in ranch rodeos, often depending on the association, location, the stock contractor, etc.

These can include: Branding, Doctoring, Double Mugging, Stray Gathering, Sorting, Trailer Loading, Two Chains, Relay Race, Wild Cow Milking, and more.

Those events require horsemanship skills, and some cowboy grit, like sorting, roping (heading and heeling), mugging/wrestling, tying, and even chasing cattle into a trailer or pen or milking a cow. And doing all of it, as quickly as possible.

Ranch rodeo teams are made of 4 members. The entire team will compete at once in the arena, much different from standard rodeos, where individuals take part in events, with the exception of team roping (2 cowboys/cowgirls).

Some ranch rodeo events also have numerous cattle in the arena. Rodeo events have only a single calf or steer, or none at all.

Ranch Rodeos have a tendency to get wild at times, as teams race to complete the task. Dealing with a team of cowboys, 4 horses, and several cattle, all in the arena at once, can be hard to control and can get a bit crazy.

After the 4 or 5 events, times are added up and points are tallied. Winners are announced and payback is based on the number of entries.


The cowboy culture is evident at all types of rodeos. Contestants have a love for animals, the lifestyle, and a strong desire to win some money and prizes 🙂

The sport of rodeo, “normal” and ranch rodeo, is known for its sportsmanship and also for expressing gratitude for the land, livestock and the opportunities presented. Rodeos always begin with a prayer and the National Anthem.

If you have an opportunity to attend a ranch rodeo, don’t hesitate. Even if you show up not knowing what is going on, you’ll figure it out along the way. Watching cowboys and their horses do what they love, and what they’ve trained to do, is exciting and rewarding.

Related Pages & Posts:

WRCA National Finals Ranch Rodeo in Amarillo, TX
Watch the Schwieter Land & Livestock Team Ranch Rodeo- throwback to 2020
The horses we’re riding
Stay up to date on Crayton & Garrett’s Missouri High School Rodeo action
A Trip to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas
Shop for Quality Ariat Ranch Wear
Western Rise Button Down-Perfect for any rodeo

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