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      Sorting competition held in Mercedes

      Sorting cows is hard work for real cowboys, but some decided to have a little fun Sunday in Mercedes at a sorting competition.

      The jackpot was a couple of hundred dollars and a Ranch Sorting National Championships jacket.

      Organizer and competitor Russell Klosterman said over 200 teams participated in the event. The teams had to sort the heifers in the least amount of time.

      "The main objective is to have fun, Klosterman said. Obviously, we've made a game out of it but this is work that people do on the ranch every day. They're sorting cows or calves off of cows and we made a game out of it, set it to time and it's just fun.

      Also, cowboys can come to town and polish their skills and have a little fun in the meantime," Klosterman added.

      But Klosterman also said ranching in Texas is no child's play.

      "It's one of our life bloods in South Texas, Klosterman said. And you know it's a very important economic building block down here.

      We just have a lot of ranching in this area, a lot of ranch horses, and a lot of good cowboys so we just give them a place to come have some fun on the weekends."

      Young and old participated in the sorting competition. Each for their own reasons some future ranchers and others retired but all in the name having fun in the outdoors.

      "I like riding and being around horses and other people." Rudy Torres of Mission said.

      Ted Rothman, a competitor that traveled all the way from San Antonio, said he retired some years ago from ranching but still does it for the fun of it.

      "It's for the sport of it, Rothman said. It's a lot of fun and the camaraderie with all the sorters and everybody is real friendly it's just a lot of fun."

      Russell and the other ranchers said their industry has not been the exception in a struggling economy but are hopeful things will pick up soon.

      However, in the meantime, sorting for fun instead of responsibility is one way the cowboys keep distracted from their worries.