Don’t forget to wrangle weeds at rodeos this summer
It isn’t summer in Wyoming without the ever-popular rodeo. Almost every town in the Cowboy State has a rodeo where locals and visitors watch barrel racing, bull riding, steer roping and more.
Unfortunately, traveling to different rodeos can bring unwanted and invasive species to rodeo grounds, rangelands, ranches and personal property. No matter where these weeds end up, they harm native plants and wildlife.
The good news is rodeo contestants and ground personnel can responsibly prevent the spread of noxious weeds, and even stop the spread completely, all while having a good time at the rodeo.
Whether going for fun, participating in rodeo events or bringing livestock along, here are some easy steps to help keep Wyoming wild and beautiful.
Clean gear and animals
One of the quickest ways weeds spread throughout the state is by clinging on to boots, saddles, trucks, trailers and animals.
Before and after traveling, make sure to clean footwear, clothes and any other gear used at the rodeo. Also, clean horses’ and stocks’ hooves before transporting them.
In addition, rodeo goers should also clean vehicles, tires and trailers to remove any mud, seeds or plants trying to tag along. It is important to repeat these steps after the rodeo to ensure invasive species are not being spread.
Contestants’ livestock need to eat at the rodeo, but hay may contain invasive species.
If any animal eats hay with invasive species, it’s a guarantee to find them on the ranch after a contestant brings them home. Also, invasive weeds are usually unpalatable and sometimes poisonous to livestock.
Many federal, state, county and local lands in Wyoming require the use of certified weed-free forage on their properties.
Using weed-free hay for animals will reduce the risk of introducing invasive weeds onto a property. Additionally, it prevents the spread and can lower the cost of prevention.
This isn’t just for the rodeo. Producers can always use weed-free hay. In fact, Wyoming Weed and Pest Council (WWPC) recommends it.
Now it’s time to giddy up
Taking these precautions at rodeos and anywhere will help Wyoming in the long haul. Rodeo goers can be sure wrangling invasive species will help carry on the legacy of rodeos in the Cowboy State.
WWPC is proud to sponsor rodeos throughout the state, including the Wyoming State Fair and Rodeo, Dubois Friday Night Rodeo, Gillette Rodeo and the National High School Finals Rodeo. We’ll be around, so stop by and say hello if you attend any of these events.
This article is courtesy of the Wyoming Weed and Pest Council (WWPC). WWPC comprises 23 Weed and Pest Districts in the state of Wyoming. The council works closely with the Wyoming Department of Agriculture and the University of Wyoming to keep current with the latest technology and research available in the ongoing management of noxious weeds and pests. The overall mission is to provide unified support and leadership for integrated management of noxious weeds and pests to protect economic and ecological resources in the state.