Writer: Paul Schattenberg, 210-859-5752, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: Brad Cowan, 956-383-1026, email@example.com
MERCEDES — The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Cinch Ranch Sorting National Championship, or CRSNC, will present the South Texas Western Heritage Ranch Sorting School and Competition May 19 in Mercedes.
Activities will be held in the Payne Auto Group Rodeo Arena of the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show Inc., 1000 Texas Ave. Check-in and registration will be from 8-8:45 a.m. followed by a welcome and then school classes starting at 9 a.m.
“Separate adult and youth skills sessions will be held and the schools are open to everyone,” said Brad Cowan, AgriLife Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources, Hidalgo County. “Western Heritage sorting is for those who want to learn a low-stress method of cattle handling.”
Topics and clinicians will be:
— Sorting Techniques, Dave Shaffner, CRSNC national champion sorter, Goldthwaite.
— Performance Horse Check, Dr. Doug Householder, former AgriLife Extension horse specialist, College Station.
— Training Your Horse to Work Cattle, Burt Bull, rancher and National Cutting Horse Association competitor, Riviera.
Class presentations will be followed by lunch from noon to 1 p.m., a message by the Cowboy Church of Rio Grande Valley and then a short presentation on how to enter a sorting, for beginning sorters. Attendees can purchase lunch and also snacks at the arena all day.
There will be a graduation ceremony at 1 p.m. Books for the afternoon sorting competition will close at 1 p.m.
The three-class Western Heritage sorting competition will begin at 1:45 p.m.
“Western Heritage is a new CRSNC class, differentiated from traditional sorting in that here the class is walk and trot only with no hollering allowed during the runs,” Householder said. “The competition is still a timed event.”
Householder said the school is primarily targeted at beginner to intermediate riders, but open riders will learn there also. The afternoon competition offers classes for all three levels of riders.
“Most riders who compete in the afternoon class competitions are beginner and intermediate level, but we also offer an open or advanced class for riders with more experience, he said.
School preregistration is $60 and space is limited to 60 riders on a first-come, first-served basis. There is a school fee of $25 for non-riding auditors. Current Coggins tests are required for all horses.
“Beginner and intermediate fees are $20 per run with a maximum of five runs, pick and/or draw, per rider. The fee for the open class is $25 per run with all else the same as the first two classes. A 50 percent payback will be made in all classes,” Householder said.
For more information and to reserve a spot, contact Russell Klostermann at 956-642-7999 or RRK@granderiver.net.
Tres Rios buckles will go to the top teams in the beginner and intermediate classes and Dennis Moreland trophy spurs will go to top team in the open class.
Local event sponsors in addition to the CRSNC include Rio Grande Livestock Show and Rodeo, Cowboy Church of Rio Grande Valley and Anchor K Productions. National program sponsors are Total Feeds and Dennis Moreland Tack.