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Ranch Sorting Events at East Fork Ranch


Article & photos by Nancy Brannon

Since the first Saturday in October, Michael and Daphne Grose have been hosting Ranch Sorting events twice a month at their East Fork Ranch in Saulsbury, TN. Avid participants themselves, the Ranch Sorting National Championships (RSNC) affiliation allows them to have a bunch of friends over to their well-equipped indoor arena for a day’s fun working the cows.

Ranch sorting is performed in two pens that are fifty to sixty feet long with a twelve to sixteen foot opening between the pens. The corners of the pens are cut at 45 degrees. Both pens are the same size and sorting can take place from either pen to the other.

At the beginning, there are eleven calves at the end of one of the pens with numbers on their sides for identification. The judge raises the flag and when the riders cross the gap between the two pens the clock starts and the competition begins. The team of two riders has to move the cattle one at a time from one pen to the other in numerical order, starting with a random number called by the judge. The fastest time wins. If a calf gets from one pen to the other out of order, then the team is disqualified.

The two riders have to work well together, “tag team it,” so to speak, so that only the one desired cow goes through the opening at a time; not more than one cow and not the wrong numbered cow.

Ranch Sorting contestants are rated from a #1 (Beginner) to #9 (professional) based on their ability level. Classifications of #1 are Beginners, #2 are Rookies, #3 Novice, #4, #5 and #6 for amateur participants and classifications of #7, #8 and #9 are for Open or Professional participants.

It’s a lot of fun and several folks commented that they could be doing something else on a Saturday, like farm work, but they’d rather be having fun at East Fork Ranch sorting cows. Mr. David Rainey was frequently sending coaching instructions to whichever team was working at the time, telling them which cows and how to work them loose from the herd to send them to the other side. He had a great time, himself, working the cows.

Ranch Sorting events at East Fork Ranch continue two Saturdays of every month through March 28, 2015. However, the Tennessee State Championships will be December 20, 2014. For more information about the RSNC, visit: For more information about the East Fork Ranch sorting events call Daphne Grose at 901-491-6156 or email

Top winners from the November 15, 2014 ranch sorting follow.

 All Levels - 15 Teams
1st - David Rainey/Shannon Terry
2nd - David  Rainey/Bo Wells
3rd - Ricky  Barnhart/Blake Hensley
#10 Master Handicap - 5 Teams
1st - Daphne Grose/Eddie Stewart
2nd - David Rainey/Mike Barber
3rd - David Rainey/Ricky Barnhart
#10 Handicap - 37 Teams
1st - Alan Kee/David Rainey
2nd - Jacob/Erin Baker
3rd - Alan Kee/Jake McKelvey
#10 Beginner  Ranch Hand - 14 Teams
1st - Heath Delaney/Susan Phillips
2nd - Susan Phillips/David Rainey
3rd - Heath Delaney/David Rainey
#6 Handicap - 43 Teams
1st - Jacob Baker/Alan Kee
2nd - Jake McKelvey/Chelsie McKelvey
3rd - Daphne Grose/Eddie Stewart

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