ELLENSBURG, Wash. — The Spirit of the West came alive in songs and poetry throughout downtown Ellensburg over this past weekend, and was put into action at Bloom Pavilion — the location of the Spirit of the West Roping competition.
The roping competition happened in conjunction with the Spirit of the West Cowboy Gathering.
People wandered back and forth between events and Spirit of the West Roping competition. The roping competition was broken into three categories open, intermediate and novice.
“It kind of ties the whole Spirit of the West event together, showcasing what it actually is, that people are actually out, you know, not just around this valley, but around all over actually working and taking care of cattle and still doing it the same way that we’ve done for hundreds of years. ... They do it because it’s still is the most efficient way,” Bryce Henderson, a roper in the competition, said.
Roping competitions like this simulate real-life cattle doctoring techniques. Unlike rodeo competitions, which focus on time, ranch roping puts a big emphasis on being efficient as possible without putting a great deal of stress on the calves. Time is still a concern with ropers needing to complete certain tasks within a given time.
Ropers are scored on showmanship, craftsmanship and the over-all finesse. Points are removed for missed throws, belly roping, losing a rope, and other technicalities.
One person needs to head the cow, the other needs to heel them and the third person pulls the cow down and sets the ropes.
The open roping was on Saturday and intermediate and novice were held on Sunday.
Steven Hadley, Lee Mullen and Kyler Beard won the novice category. Charlene Andrews, Isidro Colasa and Nacho Pena won the intermediate category. Wyatt Grahn, Carl Bissonette and Andrew Mendez won the open category.