Where do I start? Well, I guess at the beginning....
Summer and I started sorting about 6 months ago. It was just for fun to see if we could even do it. And look where we have gone. Entering 5 beginner jackpots and getting 1st place in 2 of them which put money back in my pocket. That was way cool! Now I have joined the SWTPA and we have competed in our first organized event. Wow, never saw that one coming. Never dreamed that we would be competing with all those stock horses and be the only non-stock horse there. That right there is cool in its own right. At least it is to me.
So, here goes my story: January 16th, 2010, found me loading Summer in the trailer and pulling out of the barn at about 8:20am. We arrived at about 8:30am. I know, that 10 minute drive is a booger! LOL The team penning started at 9am and sorting was to follow. Since I had never been to one of these events, I just wasn't sure when I needed to be there. But it was fun to watch the penning and now I am jonesing real bad to do that too. There were 4 penning classes and 5 sorting classes. I was in the "3 sorting" class. What that means is this; you are rated by your abilities and the ratings go from 1 to 6. (they actually have a board of directors that rates you) I of course, am a 1. The 3 sort means that only 1's and 2's can compete in this class. 1's can run with 1's and 2's can run with 1's, but 2's cannot run with 2's as that would equal to 4 and this was a 3 sort class. Confusing, but I understand it now. Anywho, I was only going to run 3 times. I was going to run with Robin and her husband Anthony and do my one manditory draw. But, I got brave and decided, what the heck, run 5 times! (which is the maximum you can run). So, I put in for 3 draws and my two partners. Well, Ken Stoker was there as was his wife Allison. He is a director for this association and is TWH knowledgable as his father raises and shows plantation walkers in Arkansas. He finally talked Allison into competing and using his QH, Salty. So she was my third partner and I changed to 2 draws. (hope this isn't too confusing).
Our class started about 5pm. There were 56 teams just in my class! OMG, all I wanted to do was not bust on my first go 'rounds. My first run in was with a draw. He was an older gentlemen (well, older than me) named Sam. We got 2 head, but didn't bust. I was happy with that. What I wasn't happy with was my performance as I got past my cows point of shoulder which caused her to turn around. That took up precious seconds to go get her before she got back into the herd. But we did it and I was proud of that. Summer was hauling butt and we headed her right before she got to the herd.
The second run was with Anthony, Robin's husband. He is experianced at this and is also a penner. Well, we got 3 head and he was trying to bring me the forth, but steer number "0" wanted to cross the hole real bad. It was all Summer and I could do to keep him back. We timed out with only 3 head. Anthony really complimented me and said I did great though. That steer wanted past me real bad and we didn't let him past. Summer kept up with "0", lunging at him, cutting him from side to side. I was real proud of Summer's performance with this steer.
My third was with Allison. She was riding Ken's horse, Salty. We had never rode together before, so I was a tad nervous. We went slow and deliberate and got 4 head. I feel a little bad though as Summer was really on. I should have pushed myself and her a little more. We probably would have done better than just 4 head.
My fourth was with Trevor Brooks. He was my second draw and is only 10 years old. He is a little feller. Looks like he could be 7. His grandpa is the president of SWTPA. What was funny was, I was more nervous riding with him than with anybody else. If you ever see this kid sort, he is good. He is better at sorting than working the hole. So that was our plan. I was to work the hole while he brought me the cattle. He is wonderful at that. He brings you a clean cow almost everytime. Well, the first one he brings me is #9. I get out of the hole and he pushed it through. He goes and gets #0. It is a clean one again so I get out of the hole so he can push it through. Just as I moved out of the way, #9 bolts back to the herd! OMG! Bust! Those busts are rear, but they happen and hard to control if no one warns you. I felt bad as I am sure we would have had a good run. Maybe next time.
My fifth and final was with Robin. Now, if you have read my blogs about sorting, you will know that Robin and I always seem to bust when we jackpot together. So that was our goal, DO NOT BUST on the first go 'round. And we didn't! We got 4 head, which qualified us for the second round. I was real proud of us and that alone was a personal win for both of us.
I qualified for 2 go backs with Allison and Robin, and Allison qualified for 2 with me and Heather. I think there were 15 or 20 go backs. (BTW, not sure if you call them "go backs" but that is what I am calling them right now) Anywho, Allison and I got another 4 head for a total of 8 and Robin and I got 2 head for a total of 6. However, Allison and Heather got all 10 head on the second round! It was amazing and was total, luck of the cow. They already had 7 head and were working on the 8th, when the person working the hole moved wrong and all 3 head ran past her. Everyone watching was like, "awwww" in disappointment until the judge announced that the cattle ran thru in the correct number order! OMGosh! It was crazy! LOL That is what they call "luck of the cow". So they finished with a total of 16 head and for 1st place!
In this sport, they place the top 10, which is unusal for me as anything I have done only places up to 6th. So, you can imagine my surprise when Summer and I with my partner Allison, got 8th place! Remember, there were 56 teams in my class. So yes, we took 8th out of 56!
I think had I been more aggressive, we would have done even better. But since this was my first time, I was a little nervous and held back when maybe I shouldn't have. But no matter, I am real proud of our first time. Once again, I am just so darned proud of that mare of mine.
I keep hearing from some of the guys that I will need to get a QH eventually when I start moving up in this sport. And they are being real nice about it and totally not trying to hurt my feelings, but I think,"Really? Why?" Honestly, who says a TWH can't do this? Who says they can't keep up with a stock horse? Isn't it all just "cow sense" anyway? If she learns to rate them and keep up with them, why would I need to get another horse? I mean, maybe I will someday, I don't know. But let me just see how far Summer will take us. You just never know...
Thanks for reading