Ranching from across the state took two well-deserved days off to compete in the State Youth Finals Working Ranch Horse Competition.  Gathered at the King’s Arena this past weekend were the finest cow hands from across the state of Montana.  

Armed with ropes, cowboy hats, and mounted on a horse of more value than their first car; they enjoyed the chance to match their skills among 50 other top-hands in roping at head and roping at heels, sorting cattle, knowledge, reining, pleasure, trail, and working cows.  


Renecca Stroh, Blaine County, riding "Hondo."

As most of them raised their own horses, they compete for bragging rights and over $15,000 in much-needed quality cowboy gear like custom spurs and bits, ropes, Greeley hats, bridles, saddle pads, bags, breastcollars, halters, etc.  Every competitor received a jacket and Cinch bag.

Area competitors Colman Otto (Vaughn) and Elizabeth Brown (Fairfield) were first time competitors in this big event. Hudson Rohrer, Gage, Avery, and McCoy Banner (Fairfield) along with Dusty and Cody Weaver (Fort Shaw) are veterans with three and four years under their new belt buckles. Even the good hands Allyson and Chad Hitchcock (Simms High School) got the day off to come push a cow for fun.  


Taten Erickson, age 14, from Judith Basin County, riding "Freckles."

Cascade County was well represented with Asa, Clayton, Reagan Jassen.  Ruby Jennings, Autumn Marquis, Leann Murphy, Drew Newman, Parker Osterman, Gracie Thiel-Watson. All placed high in many events and took home some sweet prizes.

Lewis and Clark County brought Alexis Sandoval, Clancy and Mariah Olson, showing great potential in the roping and cow work classes.


McCoy Banner, 13, Teton County, riding "Go Gunsmoke Girl."

Overall 4-H Level 1 Ranch Horse with county and horse

1st Taylee Huft, Custer, riding “Chex”; 2nd Kaleb Morris, Judith Basin, riding “Copper”; 3rd Case Heupel, Yellowstone, riding “Piper.”

Overall 4-H Level 2 Ranch Horse with county and horse

1st Mariah Olson, Lewis & Clark, “Magnum;” 2nd Tike Erickson, Judith Basin, riding “Mister”; 3rd Weston Hersel, Fergus-Petroleum, riding “Mickey”.

Overall 4-H Level 3 Ranch Horse with county and horse

1st Dusty Weaver, Teton, Roany; 2nd Kody Weaver, Teton, riding Boo; 3rd Shaylee Burg, Judith Basin, riding “TJ”.

Overall 4-H Level 4 Ranch Horse with county and horse

1st Asa Jassen, Cascade, Freckles Dazzlen Belle; 2nd Taten Erickson, Judith Basin, riding Freckles; 3rd Gage Banner, Teton, riding Gertie.

Overall Open Colt Division

1st Taten Ericson, Judith Basin, riding Freckles; 2nd brady Drummon, Cascade, riding “Huson”; 3rd Gage Banner, riding Gertie.

Overall Open Jr Division

1st Avery Banner, Teton, riding “Lucky”; 2nd Taylee Huft, Custer, riding “Chex”; 3rd Tike Erickson, Judith Basin, “Mister”.

Overall Open Intermediate Division

1st Lane Smart, Gallatin, “Hiccup”; 2nd Allie Uecker, Gallatin, ridign Badger; 3rd McCoy Banner, Teton, riding “Lewis”.

Overall Senior Division

1st Taten Erickson, Judith Basin, riding “Freckles”; 2nd Asa Jassen, Cascade, “Freckles Dazzlen Belle”; 3rd Brady Drummond, Cascade, riding “Houston”.

Working Ranch Horse Finals Sponsors

Beaverhead 4-H Horse Committee, Big Sky Pro Rodeo Comittee, Bunkhouse Branding, Cinch, Cowan Select Horses, D.A. Davidson, Dr. Jerry Billquist, Glennie Ranch, Greely Hat Works, Hooey, HorsLic-New Generation Supplement, Jerry Fowler Performance Horses.

Montana 4-H Foundation, Montana Shed Center, Montana Silversmiths, Moore Farmers Oil, North 40, ProTech Steel, Stockman Bank, Yellowstone County 4-H Council, Zoetis, Buckaroo Businesses, Grizzly Saddlery, Iverson Custom Saddlery, Pepsi, Western Ranch Supply, Associated Veterinary Services and Wild Rags by Lois.