Ranch Rodeo kicks off 2023 Clovis Rodeo month

The first official Clovis Rodeo event of 2023 to kick off the season took place under a beautiful clear sky and fine weather last Saturday, April 10th.

Each weekend in April is an event that all builds into the “rodeo season” here in Clovis.

“Many many years ago the board of directors here at the Clovis Rodeo decided that we should do something for the community every weekend during rodeo month,” announcer Mark Thompson said, “and we really couldn’t do it without the community support.”

This event, like all the pre-rodeo competitions, is free and open to the public.

The Ranch Rodeo sees teams of four compete in horse and cattle events based on real ranch work. Some events, like team roping and steer stopping, may be familiar to the average Clovis Rodeo attendee, but dry work, cow work, cutting, sorting, branding, and doctoring are all unique to ranch rodeo.

“It’s all based on the western heritage and everyday ranch work,” Thompson added, “There’s not an event out there that’s not done on the ranch every day of the year.”

The top team this year was the “Dot Seven” team; JD Triffon, Reed Helsel, Brett Behlen, and Tyler Willis, who each took home a special Clovis Ranch Rodeo saddle.

Second place team “West of the Sierras” team members Stacey Schmidt, Carly Piazza, Johni Santucci, and Brooke Jackson, took home very special sets of stirrups leftover from the canceled 2020 event.

The cowgirls of “West of the Sierras” took first place in the 2019 competition.

Both teams will be invited to the Western States Ranch Rodeo Association’s finals in the fall.

As part of the ceremony after the event, two participants were recognized for their age. Presley Carver, 12, was the youngest to compete in Saturday’s Ranch Rodeo, and Tucker Slender, 89, was the oldest.

Slender was given the same award four years ago, and continues to compete every year with his team of mule riders.

As always, Rodeo Association volunteers arrived early to prepare the grounds for the event, managed the livestock during the event, and stayed after to clean up.

Volunteers are essential to the function of all Clovis Rodeo events. “The bottom line is, we couldn’t do it without all this help,” Thompson said about the volunteers, “because nobody gets paid here, even our judges don’t even get paid.”

The next Clovis Rodeo event of the month will be Jackpot Roping on Sunday April 16th at 7AM.