2019 USTPA Hall of Fame Inductee
by Christine Mahorney
Ask about Jodi Hill and his family around town and you get responses like “badass,” “no bull
(fill in the blank, we’re a family publication),” and “amazing.”
A fifth-generation rancher, Jodi and his wife Sandy raised the sixth, and are watching the seventh generation grow. Together, Jodi and Sandy own and operate Troublesome Creek Ranch, a cattle operation just outside of Kremmling.
But that’s not necessarily what the family is best known for. Jodi is a team penning champion, and together, he and Sandy have produced many team penning events in Colorado. Being highly respected within the sport, and the community, has recently earned Jodi a place in the U.S. Team Penning Association’s (USTPA) Hall of Fame.
“We have five members on the foundation that vote people in (to the Hall of Fame),” said Zachary Cisco, USTPA Regional Director for the Rocky Mountain region. “Each member gets to vote each year, so this award is very special, as you have to be picked by your peers that are already in the Hall of Fame.”
Jodi spent a good part of his youth and young adult years traveling the United States to compete in penning and team roping events, but cooled his heels while he and Sandy raised their family.
“He stopped competing when we started hauling the kids around,” Sandy said. “They (the couple’s four children) were doing rodeo throughout junior high and high school.”
Daughters Kristi (Pencost), Shea and Skylar (Carpenter) along with son Clay were raised competing in 4-H and rodeo events. Shea was a barrel racer, Clay team roped, and Skylar raced barrels, poles, breakaway and team roping. The kids all made nationals each year in high school rodeo, with Skylar winning barrels, poles and All-Around Cowgirl in state competition her junior year.
“We used to travel the United States with him. That’s how we learned to read cattle and work with cattle,” said daughter Skylar. “He also went everywhere on the road with us while us kids rodeo’d. He was a huge supporter for me, never missed a rodeo and made sure to help and push us to be the best. Couldn’t have done it without him,” Skylar continued, adding that her dad is now sharing the same time, energy and knowledge with his grandkids.
Now that the kids are grown and raising families of their own, Jodi and Sandy have once again hit the competition circuit, traveling to team roping events throughout Colorado and Las Vegas. “He loves it,” Sandy said of Jodi’s participation in team roping events. Though they don’t currently have horses to compete in team penning events, she was quick to speculate that she didn’t know if Jodi would return to penning.
When not competing, the Hill family works their own ranch – and also helps others in the tight- knit ranching community.
“Every time we need help on our family ranch, Jodi and his family
are more than willing to come help,” said Amy Eller, whose family owns and operates the Mitchell Ranch.
Ms. Eller continued to describe her warm thoughts about Jodi. “One of my favorite things about Jodi is his God given talent for horsemanship and cattle work. Jodi and his family are not only good at what they do, they also love what they do.
He is amazing at taking what he knows and teaching others. His way of making it fun cultivates an environment to learn. The Hill family, along with many other families in our community, have a high value for every generation. Each person seems to be of equal importance, from grand kid up to great-grand parent.”
On behalf of the rodeo, ranching and West Grand communities, we’d like to extend a warm congratulations to Jodi Hill for his selection into the USTPA Hall of Fame.
What is Team Penning?
Team Penning is a rodeo sport that evolved from ranchers’s common work of separating cattle into pens for branding, doctoring or transporting. It’s a fast-paced sport that gives riders and their horses (usually) between 60 and 90 seconds to identify and separate three specific cows in a small herd and corral them into a pen at the opposite end of the arena.
The judge will start the time after the first rider and horse cross a “start” line, and will also then call out the number that the rider is seeking to pen. Generally the herd will consist of about 30 head of cattle with numbers affixed to their backs or a colored collar.
For example, three cattle will have the number 2. If the announcer calls the number 2 as the first rider crosses the start line, the team of riders will be looking to find all of the cows with the number 2 and get them into the pen at the other end of the arena.
The first organized penning event is thought to have taken place at the Ventura (California) County Fair in 1949.