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Cowboy (or girl) up

Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson
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Five-year-old Savannah Otto wears her cherry red 1950s vintage western-print skirt and matching scarlet boots with aspiration.

She wants to be a cowgirl when she grows up ” a real cowgirl.

“I like the horses,” she said, from beneath a straw-colored cowgirl hat with a thin black ribbon circling its crown. “I’ve ridden on like, three horses before. I like the brown ones and the white ones.”



Otto’s grandmother, Shelle DeBeque, of Carbondale, said her kindergarten-aged granddaughter loves the rodeo. For the little girl with wavy chestnut hair and white lacy socks under her red boots, attending Saturday’s Bareback Bonanza at the Gus Darien Riding Arena in Carbondale was certainly a treat. The annual Potato Day horseback riding event features pole and barrel competitions and mutton bustin’.

“She wanted to do mutton bustin’,” DeBeque said. “But since I’m the Grandma, I had to say, ‘You have to ask your mom first.'”



DeBeque expressed relief that her granddaughter will have to wait another year to see how long she can stay on the back of a sheep. “They’re cute … and tough,” she said.

Mutton bustin’ rider Terran Farnham, 7, wants to be a cowboy someday, and he dresses the part, too. He sports gray alligator boots, brown leather chaps with fringe, a black and red suede vest and a black cowboy hat.

“I wear these almost all the time at the rodeo,” said the blonde Basalt Elementary School student of his worn-in chaps he’s had for two years. “This is my fourth time mutton bustin’. You get to have fun and the animals.”

Farnham, whose favorite animals are horses and reptiles, said the longest he has ridden a sheep is 25 seconds. He plans to ride even longer next year.

“I’ll try to hold on tighter,” he said.

Six-year-old Myia Mencimer, of Glenwood Springs, can only boast about a three-second ride for her first time mutton bustin’, but it doesn’t seem to phase her.

“I was scared a little bit,” said Mencimer, who loves horses, too.

Wearing pigtails, cotton candy pink-and-white boots and a camel-colored skirt and vest with lots of fringe, Mencimer talked of becoming a cowgirl and riding her favorite horse, Buster.

Riding atop a 25-year-old gelding named Skippy, 4-year-old Reagan Clay, of Delta, is as much cowgirl as Dale Evans. The aspiring barrel racer whose mother, Sara Groom-Clay, is a third-generation Carbondale native, attends the Bareback Bonanza every year with her family.

“I like riding horses,” said Clay, who wore a turquoise shirt with an orange scarf tied around her neck, blue jeans and red and black cowgirl boots. “And I like steering them.”

Otto doesn’t have any horses, and she doesn’t live on a ranch ” but that doesn’t stop her from wanting to be a cowgirl.

“All we have is a goldfish and we live really close to the mountains,” she said. “My dad won’t let me (have a horse) because it’s too much money for a ranch.”

Otto hopes to have a horse of her own one day. Wearing her red boots and watching the real cowgirls and cowboys from the sidelines will do for now.


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