Beachner Brothers Livestock is returning to Amarillo, Texas, next week in an attempt to repeat as the Working Ranch Cowboy Association Ranch Rodeo champion team.
The 24th world championship runs Thursday to Sunday, Nov. 7-10, at the Civil Center Complex Coliseum in Amarillo.
Five teams from Kansas will compete, including the 2018 world champion Beachner Brothers Livestock team. Beachner Brothers qualified for Amarillo by winning the Colorado Championship Ranch Rodeo in June. Other Kansas teams are from El Dorado, Emporia, Cedar Point and Allen. Twenty teams will participate in Amarillo.
Last year, Calvin Kendall, cow/calf manager for Beachner Brothers, and his two sons, Cody and Caden, competed along with Ty Swiler. This year, the team will add Gina Kendall and Josh Lilley.
Ranch rodeos offer working cowboys the chance to show why they’re the best at wild cow milking, stray gathering, ranch bronc riding, team penning and team branding. Last year, the Beachner team was best at team penning and wild cow milking. In addition, Cody Kendall earned Top American Quarter Horse and Top WCCR Horse (riding Little Tee J. Paul) and Ty Swiler earned Reserve Top Hand awards.
“They’re hyped up and ready to go,” Calvin Kendall said of the team earlier this year.
Besides working cattle during the week, the team competes in ranch rodeos on weekends to sharpen skills and reduce times. The young team may be considered at a disadvantage because they compete against older, more experienced cowboys. They don’t consider that a disadvantage because every year the competition gets older, too.
Each day, from sunup until the work’s done, they’re on horseback working cattle in all weather. Beachner Brothers runs cattle on pastures in a number of counties. Calvin Kendall makes sure bulls are available twice a year for breeding for spring and fall calves. Earlier this year, the crew was moving bulls away from cow pastures. They also shipped cattle by loading them onto trailers, about 60 cattle per trailer, for a trip to the feedlot.
The younger ranch hands talk about their love of horses and working outdoors. They don’t see themselves doing anything else. They also follow, to a certain degree, the cowboy stereotype created by Hollywood: Few words. They liked winning in Amarillo, though, and they intend to do so again next week.
Calvin Kendall said he and the boys have competed four years in Amarillo. The best finish before 2018 was second place.
He said the competitions are a lot of work and travel, but it’s also “a lot of fun.” He thinks chances are good they will win next week.
“The ranch rodeo is just what we do at work. It’s like anything else. If you’re doing something you really enjoy, it’s not really work. It’s more fun than work,” he said.
“I just think there’s a lot worse things they could be doing. This kind of keeps them out of trouble.”
In the months leading up to Amarillo, Calvin said the team works to reduce times.
“Just be faster. Be faster.”
Swiler, an Erie High School and Kansas State University graduate, rode the saddle bronc for Beachner last year. He said there’s no trick to it other than “be aggressive” and “try not to be bucked off.” Luck of the draw plays a role, too, because you don’t know how aggressive your horse will be.
He, too, had confidence early in the year of a repeat. He likes the competition and his chosen career.
“I enjoy it. I enjoy riding horses and I feel like I’m pretty good at it. I don’t feel like I could be stuck in an office,” Swiler said.
Cody, a Panhandle State University graduate, said he likes doing his own thing and working with horses.
“Anytime I can do anything on a horse,” Cody said.
Calvin said he’s worked for Beachner since high school and has been ranch manager for 12 years. Besides the competitions, he said he loves his job. What specifically does he like?
“My kids being able to work with me. I just like the outdoors and the livestock part of it.”
Beachner Brothers Livestock formed in 1960 by Corky, Jerry, Bob and Bill Beachner.