Why the Calf Scramble is a Silver Spurs Rodeo Fan Favorite
Every year, thousands of people flock to our rodeo to meet rodeo queens, see cowboys get the rides of their lives, and to watch their very favorite rodeo event… The calf scramble! While the calf scramble may not be sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), this doesn’t diminish its popularity. This fan favorite event takes place during all of rodeos, and it never gets old for locals and our club members. And if you’re scratching your head asking, “Well, what is a calf scramble?”, brace yourself for some cute rodeo fun that the whole family will enjoy.
Back in the early days, when the lands were still untamed and unfenced, the cattle roamed free. And despite the ranchers’ best efforts, cattle would stray from the herd and either get eaten by predators or wander into another rancher’s herd! To prevent the loss of profit from cattle joining other herds, these ranchers decided to brand their cattle with a unique symbol that would represent their family’s brand or the specific owner of the cattle.
Traditionally, ranchers would use hot branding to leave their mark on the cattle. However, nowadays, there are other styles of identification that ranchers use on cattle such as freeze branding, ear tags, or tattooing the cattle. But before these calves could be branded, they needed to be caught. And thus, the chore of catching the calves to be branded brought the eventual birth of the playful calf scramble!
For the past ten years, the Silver Spurs Rodeo has held a calf scramble about halfway through each rodeo performance. Right before the scramble, the announcer will invite children ages 5-8 to the arena entrance in the South Lobby. As the children make their way to the dirt, three calves are loaded in by the timed event chutes, and colored ribbons are tied to the calves’ tails. Before the calves are released, when the children are on the dirt, the children are given three rules:
- Grab the colored ribbon off a calf’s tail.
- Be mindful of the calves and the children around you.
- Have fun!
So what’s the payoff for running through the dirt after a calf? A whole $5! (And some bragging rights.) Hey, it’s not every day they can tell their friends how they won $5 chasing after a calf. And if you’re too old to participate yourself, you’ll get a great belly laugh watching kids chase after these calves.
So next time you find yourself at our rodeo, be sure your kids have their running shoes (or boots) on and are ready to make some money!