Phillips man takes a minute to become national Ranch Sorting Champion
Michael Squires sat atop his loyal horse, Strop, envisioning the next 60 seconds.
It was only a minute, but it would eventually set him apart from other cattle ranchers across the country and earn him the title of Ranch Sorting Champion.
“It's definitely a fun event to participate in,” he said. “It's something I'm going to stick with.”
Squires, 36, of Phillips, won the Ranch Sorting National Championships in early June. He edged out more than 100 other ranchers to win the competition in Fort Worth, Texas.
Ranch sorting is an equestrian sport, which gives two riders 60 seconds to sort 10 numbered cattle in one pen and move them across an arena to a second pen. One rider cuts through the herd, while the other guards the entrance to the second pen to keep out cattle before their turn.
The riders must be cautious not to let the “trash cow,” or cow without a number, across.
If a trash cow or cow out of order crosses into the pen, the round ends and the 60 seconds is added to the rider's total time.
The contest adds the time of each round. The goal is to sort as many cattle in as little time as possible.
Squires, who works a full-time job with Frito-Lay, owns two horses and spends his free time riding them. He'd been a competitor in Team Penning, a fast-paced equestrian sport similar to sorting. In that event, a team of riders on horseback have between 60 and 90 seconds to separate three breeds of cattle from a herd of 30 into a pen.
“It seemed like sorting was picking up,” Squires said. “It is very competitive. It's a really fun sport to be in.”
Squires had only recently started competing in ranch sorting. In November, he won the Pennsylvania state championship for the event, advancing him to the national competition in Texas.
He easily moved through the round-robin semifinals. He was in fourth place as the final round started.
“I felt pretty good about it,” Squires said.
His strategy was simple: He needed to move at least six cattle into the pen to tie for first place, or seven to win.
He told his riding partner to “guard the second pen with your life,” so he wouldn't be tossed out of the competition in the last round.
“And that's what he did,” Squires said. “He protected the whole time.”Squires was able to move six cattle into the pen. That meant his total cattle count for the competition was 31, tying him for first place.
In order to break the tie, judges looked at total time. Squires narrowly edged out his competition by five seconds — 602.2 to 607.53.
Squires said all of the riders did well, but he believes his technique may have set him apart. Instead of he and his partner switching between cutting and guarding, Squires said he remained in the pen to cut, and his partner stayed at the gate to guard.
“I think I may have played it a little smarter,” Squires said. “We ran it more as a ranch-hand type class, rather than switching riders.”
As part of his competition, Squires took home a cash prize, a trailer and a hitch.
Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Old bricks get new purpose, Connellsville gets paved street
- Fayette communities come together on forming land bank
- Insurer asks judge to decide payment from fatal South Union accident
- Wrongful death lawsuit filed against Connellsville man in 2013 accident
- Charges added against Uniontown man in case involving dog shooting
- 1 killed, 1 injured in 2-vehicle crash on Route 119 in Dunbar Township
- Dirt Road Sunset bands together to help veterans
- Connellsville Area Ministerial Association’s Adopt A Block party to provide fun, food, fellowship
- Fayette County Fair nears kick-off
- Connellsville Redevelopment Authority director touts revitalization
- Everson OKs recreational burning ordinance