When someone asked Cody Smith of Rifle to come up with a fun event that the whole family could participate in at the Garfield County Fair & Rodeo, he knew just what he wanted to do.
He started the Family Rodeo.
Now it’s in third year, the family rodeo includes Mutton Bustin’, Family Barrel Racing, Family Team Roping, Family Dally Ribbon Roping, Stick Horse Races and Sibling Poles.
“It’s just a family-oriented event,” Smith said. “Everyone comes out and wants to have a good time. The kids, the parents, the grandparents…it’s just a family atmosphere where you can spend time with your kids. The most fun part about it is that it’s family-oriented.”
Smith not only puts on the event, he and his two sons, Tyler, 11, and Colton 9, also compete.
The brothers compete in the Sibling Barrel and Pole races. In a barrel race, one team member rides around barrels in a clover pattern and when they come back the second one goes. Their time is combined and the team with the fastest time wins.
Pole racing is much the same, except that the riders are maneuvering around seven poles in the center of the arena.
Mutton Bustin’ is always a popular event and is limited to 50 contestants.
The whole goal in mutton busting is to hang onto the sheep for as long as you can,” Smith said. “There’s a weight limit of 50 pounds, so usually it’s the younger kids, about eight and under.”
The top five boys and top five girls then move onto the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), where they will compete again.
Family Team Roping involves three competitors — one person roping the head of the steer, called the “header” and once that’s done, the “heeler” will rope the back feet or legs of the steer. When that’s accomplished, the third person runs out and “brands” the animal.
“Except that we use a toilet brush and some flour,” Smith clarified. “You just dab it on the side of the body. The object is to be the fastest team.”
Smith competes with his sons in the Family Dally Ribbon Roping event.
This event involves one roper, Smith, and his sons as the two runners.
“The object is to rope the calf and after it’s caught, the first runner run out and grabs a ribbon that is tied to the calf’s tail. The second runner comes out and meets him half way and the first runners gives him the ribbon and then has to give him a kiss on the cheek.”
“The reason I did that was because my kids hate each other,” Smith said with a laugh. “No, I’m kidding, but they certainly don’t want to have to give each other a kiss in public.”
For the Smith family, the rodeo is truly a family event. Smith’s wife, Niki, does all the legwork and manages the money associated with the event.
“She’s the brains behind it all,” Smith said. “I just put it on. I couldn’t do it without her.
Rick Arbaney of Silt is the stock contractor who provides the cattle for the competition and the Rocky Mountain Baptist Church also helps to sponsor it.
The Family Rodeo kicked off the week of events at the 76th annual Garfield County Fair Tuesday night, with the highlight of events happening this weekend.
“The most fun part about it is that it’s family-oriented.”