Hi Country Ranch Rodeo
Clint Grimes and Keeley Jensen put on the rodeo.
Do you like the sweat?
Heavy rain the night before left the arena a lake on Saturday.
by Terry Allen
June 24, 2017
It takes a lot of hard work and help from a lot of skilled people to make a success of a rodeo and that is what Clint Grimes and Keeley Jensen and their team of friends, family and sponsors have done for four years. This year’s Hi Country Ranch Rodeo was held Friday and Saturday, June 16 & 17, 2017 at the Pinedale Rodeo grounds. This is a family-friendly event. Four-person teams compete in cattle doctoring, branding, team roping, trailer loading, team tying and bronc riding events. The Champion team qualifies for finals in Winnemucca, NV. The rodeo is sanctioned by the Western States Ranch Rodeo Association.
Clint competed in rodeo and his Dad ropes, and Keeley's father and uncles competed in rodeo, so it is just in their blood. They are passing on the tradition to their daughter Ciara who is almost four and just over two feet tall. Every Tuesday and Thursday evening is Father/Daughter Roping Date Night. They load steers into the chute, Ciara pulls open the gate and Clint chases a steer and ropes it. In between, Ciara practices roping an orange cone. As I was getting all this information, Keeley told me that Ciara ropes the cone late into the evening and then falls asleep in the truck on the way home.
Anyway, one day Clint just decided he wanted to bring back the good old days of community based rodeo where people who rode horses and worked cattle for a living could come and compete with each other.
It has turned out to be quite the endeavor. It costs $10,000 to put on Hi Country Ranch Rodeo. Clint and Keeley save every bit they can as they plan the event a year in advance. All year they seek sponsors who want to be part of bringing back real rodeo. It is a non-profit and Clint and Keeley don't pay themselves, so it's pretty attractive to sponsors who like supporting passionate people who just want to do something good for the community.
They have a lot of people to pay to put on a rodeo. They pay for judges, for steers, for bucking horses, insurance, advertising, they pay for making posters, they buy countless small items that add up like, chalk, paint, banners, etc. They pay a fee to have their Ranch Rodeo sanctioned nationally, so athletes can qualify for the national and world championships in Ranch Rodeo. There are folks all over the country who like real old-fashioned rodeo.
One of the guys who helps make it happen is Casey who owns R and R Rodeo in Green River. Casey trains young bareback and saddle bronc riders. He starts them at age three and slowly builds their confidence. Saturday we met two of his nationally ranked athletes right here at the Pinedale Rodeo Grounds. Ranked 3rd and 7th if memory serves. Looks like Casey knows what he's doing.
As little Ciara was looking closely at my laptop screen with me and giving her input on what photos of her she'd like me to post, she said, "Stop right there," when we came to the one we eventually included. She stared at it closer and bumped my head with hers in the process...and turned and looked right into my eyes. She just held my gaze like that for a few seconds and then said, "I'm too far away to rope him." I agreed someone as small as her might have a hard time throwing a rope that far. Still holding my gaze she said, "I was afraid he would step on my feet." I've got to say, that girl obviously has an expert guiding and teaching her how to make observations and lock in learning like that.
As everyone around here knows, Jay Fear and his family go back many generations here and have been involved in the old fashioned kind of rodeo Clint is talking about. That's why Jay likes to sponsor my stories of this nature. I asked Jay if I could tell some more stories about his Grandfather, but he said I should just introduce his newest real estate agent, Ward Wise to the folks who don't already know him. Ward gave me a picture and a page of accomplishments he is proud of and so I'll share them here with you. I've known Ward for quite a few years now and he is a most agreeable and accommodating sort as I shoot photos of him at many community events during the year.
Ward Wise graduated from Pinedale High School and went on to receive a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of Wyoming. He is married to Natalie Grassell Wise and they have 3 children. Ward is a ski coach, an avid bicyclist, boater, fly fisherman and enjoys being outdoors and backpacking in the mighty Wind River Mountains. He is a former school board member of Sublette County School District #1, former Sublette BOCES board member, former High School Teacher and former Director of Sublette BOCES. He is the Ski School Director and Race Coordinator at White Pine Ski Resort and a Real Estate Agent at Jay Fear Real Estate. He is involved in the community with the Dancing with the Sublette Stars a fundraiser for the Children’s Learning Center, Sublette County Ski and Snowboard Association, and USA Swimming. His wife is a former Rodeo competitor in barrel racing while growing up in Pinedale as well as a former ski racer. http://www.jayfearrealestate.com
Thanks to Keeley Jensen and Ciara for helping me select photos and share interesting stuff for this story.
Thank you to Dawn Ballou of Pinedale Online for co-sponsoring this story about people putting on a rodeo like they did in the good old days.
I took a lot of photos folks; I'm sorry not everyone made the story. I can go into my photo chip, use my photo-editing magic and put together a nice CD for you, for a family friendly price. These are low-rez photos in this story. If you want hi-rez, I sell those, too. Terry: firstname.lastname@example.org