Posts Tagged ‘steer tripping’

At the tail end of my last post I mentioned Don King Days which takes place every year just outside of Sheridan, WY.  To tell the truth I had never heard of Don King Days until our youngest son mentioned it.  He had gone a few years ago and said it was pretty darn interesting so since we were headed through Sheridan over Labor Day weekend we decided to stop and check it out ourselves and we were certainly glad we did.

Of course any trip to Sheridan wouldn’t be complete without a stop at King Ropes and Saddlery.  This is one of my all-time favorite stores in the world!!!  They have everything a true-blue cowgirl could ever want.  This store was started by a fellow named Don King (no – it’s not the same guy who promotes boxing and has the wild, straight-up hair do).  This Don King was a cowboy, rancher, roper, leather crafter and from the sounds of it a really nice guy.  He has passed away but his store and museum continues on.

The place is easy to find – just follow main street and you’ll come right to it.  Not only will you want to stop there to shop but you will definitely need to stop there for directions to the polo field (yep – polo with horses) where they hold the festivities.  And when the lady tells you the route will be well-marked – don’t believe her.  We stumbled around lost for almost an hour, went 8 miles out-of-the-way and finally chanced upon it when we thought we took a wrong turn.  But it was worth the hassle of finding it because this was a ‘rodeo’ the likes of which I had never seen before.

The first thing you will notice when you pull up is that there aren’t any fences – this is – after all, a polo field.  Everyone brings their lawn chairs and finds a spot.  They also back their pickups in and set up their tail-gate parties.  Believe me – these guys and gals know how to tail-gate!  Check it out…

This bunch had long stem glasses and champagne on ice.  And this bunch…  need I say more?

“Par-Tay at the Polo Club!”

I am sorry to say we totally missed the polo match that morning.  That was something I had been looking forward to seeing but we did get there in time to see the steer tripping which is pretty amazing in itself. 

 They turn a steer loose, the roper ropes it by a legal catch over both horns than flips the rope over the steers hips and ‘trips’ the critter.  He then has to get off his horse and run to tie up three legs of the steer before it gets back on its feet.  It was impressive to see the skill of these cowboys!

It was hard to get a picture because everything happened so fast. 

Steer Tripping was good but not quite as exciting as the Saddle Bronc riding.  They do it almost the same way it was done a hundred years ago.  They did run the horse into a small chute at first to hold him while they put on the halter and rope then they would hand the rope over to a guy on horseback and turn the horse out of the chute.  The cowboy would lead the horse (who was always bucking and kicking) right out in front of everyone where he held him as other cowboys on horseback would slowly move up beside the bronc – calming him with the presence of the other horses.  They would slowly ease the saddle onto the bronc and then the cowboy would climb up behind another cowboy then ease on over to the back of the bronc.  Once he was in place and set for the ride he would nod his head and everyone would scatter.  There was always one guy to flip an old slicker in the broncos face to really get things going.

These boys could ride.  And the best part was when the horse decided to buck toward the crowd – people grabbed their children, lawn chairs and drinks & scattered like cockroaches in the daylight.  It was great! 

I heard several stories about horses and riders bucking through the crowd and into the vehicles parked nearby.  And I guess they have even landed on top of several cars over the years.  Just try to explain that to your insurance agent.  I’m betting that cute little gecko wouldn’t even believe you.


The pick-up guys were always handy when it came time to get off.  They had to be – that ground was hard packed.  I would bet it was almost like landing on concrete. 

I think a person should try new things as often as they can and Don King Days definitely fits the bill.  In fact, we may have to go back next year and see what all we missed this time!

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