What is Team Penning?
Written by Katie Barlett for The Horse Downunder Magazine
Being one of the fastest growing equestrian sports in the world with an estimated 93,000 active riders in North America alone, Team Penning is quickly becoming one of Australia's primary sports too. Thought to date back to 1942 with the idea of organizing what were routine cowboy chores into a competitive sport, Team Penning is an exciting, fast paced event where riders can showcase their horsemanship and skills.
Teamwork however is the key to this event, working together to separate three same color collared or numbered cattle from a herd and pen into a yard located at the opposite end of the arena, making sure there are no wrong collared or numbered cattle in there. Encouraging a mixture of age groups, abilities and skill levels, Team Penning is a fun and social yet competitive event.
Nevertheless with any competitive event come rules and codes of conduct especially when animals are involved. While rules were originally put in place, they now days vary from club to club which can be confusing and hard to learn in general for new riders.
About the ATPA
Why The ATPA Was Created
With any competitive event come rules and codes of conduct especially when animals are involved. While rules were originally put in place, they now vary from club to club which can be confusing and hard to learn in general for new riders.
Seeing this dilemma at team penning events all around Australia, the Australian Team Penning Association Inc was officially launched on Sunday 26th April 2009 at the Dayboro Showground's. The primary aim of the association is:
- to promote the sport as it continues to grow in Australia,
- establish a level playing field,
- have standardized rules and a uniform interpretation of those rules,
- help new committees and clubs set up Team Penning events and
- provide insurance cover for clubs and competitors which is tailored specifically for the sport.
The ATPA will also establish the Australian Team Penning Championships and liaise with International bodies in relation to the development of the sport.
About The Committee
President of the ATPA, Ty Granger has been involved in the equine industry for over 35 years as a competitor in rodeo, campdraft, team penning, reining and many other horse related sports. Ty has worked as director, treasurer and team member for many clubs and committees and is dedicated to training and improving our members to assist them in reaching their full potential as horse people and competitors. "My vision for the ATPA is to promote a unified sport of Team Penning in Australia which will allow us to demonstrate and share our sport in a professional and effective manner in local, state, national and international arenas" Ty stated.
Ty's wife, Caron Granger has been appointed Publicity Officer and is excited to be apart of the new organization. "Along with the positive input and support of fellow competitors and clubs across Australia we will be able to promote and unite the wonderful sport of Team Penning. My vision is to see it grow as a family equine sport where everyone, no matter what level of riding experience or code is welcomed and encouraged to compete in a safe and friendly way". Caron has been involved with horses all her life and has successfully competed and shown horses at rodeos, western riding clubs and western performance shows at national levels.
Newly elected Vice President, Greg Bartlett, brings to the committee international experience, having competed in team penning events in the USA. Greg, along with his wife Sue and two of their children, Chelsea and Katie, compete in team penning events around the country and later this year will be visiting the USA again, where daughter Chelsea will represent Australia in Junior Barrel Racing competitions. Greg intends to compete in team penning events will over there and hopes to see how the Americans are running their competitions, what timing devices they are using, numbering of cattle and if any changes have been made to the sport from where it orginated.
Another husband and wife team on the committee is Dean and Sandra Gilchrist. Judges coordinator, Dean Gilchrist and Secretary, Sandra Gilchrist both have plenty of equine experience on many different levels. Dean has competed as a bronc and bull rider, steer wrestler and team roper in Australia, New Zealand and America. He was stock contractors representative on the NRA board for a few years and has been involved in successfully running rodeos, challenges, drafts and team penning events over the last 20 years as well as providing schools for beginners in both horsemanship and team penning. Both Dean and Sandra have been competing in team penning events for around 4 years now however Sandra has previously competed, barrel racing in NRA & APRA rodeos, in 1992 was crowned National Rodeo Association Rodeo Queen and has also shown locally at western pleasure shows. Along with Dean, Sandra has been involved for over 20 years in the running of a range of events including fundraising. Dean and Sandra believe the ATPA will take Team Penning to its full potential with an interpretation of the same rules giving riders a "fair go" and also organizing Australian Titles with bigger prize money and trophies.
Simultaneously club liaison officer, John Lautenbach and Treasurer, Tina Wells, are both active competitors and involved greatly in other Team Penning clubs. John and Tina both played vital roles in the Dayboro Cow Horse Club, John being a past president and Tina previously being secretary. Together they successfully ran the club in 2009 and developed an understanding of those challenges facing individual clubs. Tina and John are interested in visiting a number of existing clubs to find out at a local level what is being sought from a National Body and developing partnerships with those organizations that the association represents. John's vision is to see the establishment of a national competition with major sponsorship deals, a registration system for both horse and rider and the recording of results within a national database. With that groundwork established John wants to see Australian Team Penners take on the rest of the world on the International stage. "With the growing number of people who are 100% dedicated to the development of the sport, through the ATPA I believe that we can turn these ideas into reality" John said.
With such a vast array of experience on the committee, not only in the competition arena but within clubs, the Australian Team Penning Association Inc vision is nothing but positive for both the sport and its dedicated riders.