PERU Every summer Peru residents see signs posted at intersections in their community pointing to the Mannix Rd. The signs read Team Penning. Many people scratch their heads and wonder What in the world does that mean?
Saturday and Sunday, July 14-15 over 100 horses and their riders from eight states and Canada converged on the Rob and Cathy Butts Cimarron Arena to compete in a U.S. Team Penning Association (USTPA) sanctioned show. The USTPA calls penning Americas Family Sport and anyone attending couldnt help notice that the participants included women and men, girls and boys of all ages. In fact, over 50 percent of the competitors were women and the participants ages ranged from seven to seventy-four. These people likely have two things in common a fondness for horses and a love of the outdoors.
Team penning involves a team of three riders who have 60 seconds to separate three same-numbered cattle from a herd of thirty. When the announcer calls a specific number the riders must separate the three cattle bearing that number from the herd and drive them into a small pen at the opposite end of the arena. Riders also compete in a competition called Team Sorting. It involves two or three riders sorting ten cattle in numerical order and driving them through a gate into a large pen. The teamwork, fact-paced action and horsemanship required to compete in both events is a beautiful thing to watch.
Larry Kuyper, a resident of Elkton, Maryland and the USTPAs Vice-President for Rules, Regulations and Judging, participated in the Peru show. He said team penning the worlds fastest growing equine sport. Describing the competition Kuyper said, Its kind of like playing billiards. Its all about angles and pressure points. Pressure applied to a steers hip drives the animal. Pressure applied to the ribs holds the animal and pressure applied to the shoulders turns the animal.
Humane treatment of animals and sportsmanship are two of the sports highest priorities. Unnecessary roughness on a steer results in instant disqualification. Unsportsmanlike conduct results in an immediate $500 fine. The Cimarron Corral reinforces that stance by levying fines of $1 per cuss word uttered. In two afternoons at the event this reporter did not hear one swear word. Sportsmanship and smiles were the order of the weekend.
Asked why riders enjoy coming to the Cimarron Arena, Larry Kuyper looked eastward to Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains and said, Many of our events are indoors. You dont have the wind in your face and this beautiful view. This is what its all about.
More information on the Cimarron Arena and its upcoming activities can be found at http://whinny.org/cimarronarena.htm. The next club event is scheduled for August 10,11 & 12. There are small grandstands and spectators are welcome.