• Reporter Marie Conboy

Giddyup For The Cowboys And Cowhorses

It’s that time of year again, and Cowboys are ready to saddle up and work some ropes at the Cowboys and Cowhorses show and competition which will take place at the Lakeland College Equine Centre in Vermilion on April 21.

The Lakeland College Western Ranch and Cow Horse program focuses on horse training and students study cattle diseases, marketing and beef production with diverse practical learning.

“We are pretty unique – in that, not many other places in Canada offer a course like this; with the combination of horse and cattle experience all wrapped up in one course. We fill a specific niche in the livestock industry that does not get dealt with on other courses,” said Ron Hoffman, who has been the instructor with the Western Ranch and Cow Horse program since 2000.

Hoffman says that current work opportunities for students graduating from the course are great.

“If you want a job in a feed lot or a pasture riding job, there is lots of work out there! I’ve got people calling me saying they don’t have anybody to go and do the job in Wainwright area! It doesn’t matter what the economy is, if you’ve got live cattle, you still need people to look after them,” said Hoffman.

Some of the 20 students on the Western Ranch and Cow Horse program this year will be taking part in the Cowboys and Cowhorses show and competition.

“We have some pretty good kids this year on the program. I’ve had students from every province over the years; the only province I haven’t had a student from is the Northwest Territories. This year we even have a student from as far away as France. Right now we are finishing the year with 20 students, there is always a little bit of fall off where some students don’t make it past Christmas when they realize it’s not the course for them,” added Hoffman.

Photo Marie Conboy

The Cowboys and Cowhorses show and competition will be open to the public to attend, and the Team Roping Jackpot will take place on Saturday, April 22. Classes will include ranch cutting - open, cowboy and novice classes, open ranch rodeo events - team doctoring and ranch sorting, and stock dog/ horse trials. The competition is available to open and non-pro class competitors to compete in reined work, fence work and steer stopping. The aggregate winners in each division will be awarded vests.

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