Cattle sorting fundraiser draws horsemen to Sunnyside


Sunnyside's Kyle Cameron whirls back around to stop a stray cow from leaving the sorting pen for its turn. Cameron eventually went on to earn the Survivor Draw Buckle during the weekend sorting contest.

Headstrong heifers, determined riders, electronic timers and all the dust a person can eat made for an excellent weekend of cattle sorting competition at Sunnyside's Specks Arena, site of the third annual Sort 4 the Cause fundraiser. According to Tammy Fields, a Sort 4 the Cause event director, 80-plus riders were on hand for the two-day event, which challenged riders against cattle and the clock. Riders of all ages took their turn in the sorting pens, hazing cattle one at a time from one pen into a second pen, attempting to collect as many cows as possible in a specific order all within 1 minute. Riders working in teams of two, one to haze and one to block, made it look easy to the friends, families and fans gathered around the pens to cheer riders on. Sorting, a time honored cattleman's technique, is normally practiced these days for bragging rights and cash prizes. This past week, the sorting contest was held for a different cause... fighting cancer. The team members all pledged money to compete in the event, and many stuck around to participate in the live auction held Saturday night after the first day of competition. Fields said early estimates show that the auction raised more than $10,000, not including the amounts pledged by the riders. Last year's event raised $24,000, which was distributed to Children's Wishes and Dreams, Wellness House and Washington Hematology-Oncology. Fields said the money from this year's event will again be shared among these three agencies. New to this year's event was the Survivors Draw Class held Sunday morning to conclude the weekend fundraiser. Seven two-man teams signed up for the draw, which earned the top sorter a buckle. Earning that trophy was young Kyle Cameron of Sunnyside, both a survivor of cancer and a winner in his first sorting competition. Riding with veteran rider Pam Bright, herself a cancer survivor, the young man penned his five cows in order in the minute allowed, for top bragging rights. "Pretty cool," he said.


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