Former Denver Bronco to attend this year’s Rifle Rendezvous Festival

A couple of kids on a ride can’t help but laugh while enjoying a previous Rifle Rendezvous.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

Former Denver Broncos linebacker Karl Mecklenburg is scheduled to attend this year’s Rifle Rendezvous Festival with hopes of inspiring local high school students, an official said.

“Our focus is really going to be toward getting our youth involved,” Rifle Rendezvous Festival board President Annie MacGregor said. “So we have a youth rodeo we’re bringing out.”

Mecklenburg, who played alongside the great John Elway, wrote a book titled, “Heart of a Student Athlete: All-Pro Advice for Competitors and Their Families.” The motivational book outlines templates for success, like using courage and teamwork to achieve beyond the scope of sport.

Playing into this spirit, this year’s Rifle Rendezvous features the youth rodeo. If high school students are greatly inspired by Mecklenburg’s words, they’ll be given an opportunity to ride in the rodeo arena.

“Our audience is getting more of these more traditional high school sports athletes,” MacGregor said. “We’ll have them try out traditional rodeo sports.”

This new feature comes as Rifle Rendezvous celebrates its 25th anniversary. What originally began as a homage to the area’s mountain men has evolved each year.

MacGregor said this year’s event is all about paying tribute to Garfield County’s agricultural history.

“We’re promoting our heritage and our Western roots,” she said. “In order to do that, we’ve got to make sure our upcoming generations get to experience that.”

Complementing the visit by Mecklenburg and the youth rodeo are carnival rides, a car show, bull-riding events and more. Another new feature includes a draft horse show, where massive Clydesdale horses take on obstacles to exhibit their ability and athleticism.

The Rifle Rendezvous Festival is slated for May 12-15 at the Garfield County Fairgrounds, 1001 Railroad Ave. Carnival tickets are $30 in advance and can be purchased at Rifle City Market and Alpine Bank locations.

For more information on ticket information, event schedules and registrations, visit


May 12

• 5 p.m.: Carnival rides begin

May 13

• 4-11 p.m.: Carnival runs 4-11 p.m.

• 5-6 p.m.: Garfield County Sheriff’s K9 Exhibition

• 5 p.m.: 4-H silent auction fundraiser begins

• 6 p.m.: Keynote speaker Karl Mecklenburg (adults $15, children 7-17 $6, children younger than 7 free)

• 7 p.m.: 4-H live auction

• 8 p.m.: Barn dance and live music by Tyler Rust Band

May 14

• 9 a.m. to noon: Rollin’ Rendezvous Skate, Scooter and BMX Contest; event takes place at Rifle Action Park, 200 E. 16th St.

• 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Car show taking place in downtown Rifle on Third Street; event includes live performance by Whiskey Stomp, beer garden

• TBD: Annual Rifle Police Department Bike Rodeo

• 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.: Food and craft vendors

• 10-11 a.m.: Full Throttle Dance Company performance

11 a.m. to noon: Cutest cowboy and cowgirl contest

• Noon to 1 p.m.: Best beard, whiskers contest noon

• 2-3 p.m. ArtillumA Dance performance

• 3:30-4:30 p.m.: Charley Two Dogs and Loco Lobo Russell rope tricks

• 7-9 p.m.: Bucking Bulls

May 15

• 8 5 p.m.: Food and craft vendors

• 10 a.m. to noon: Church services with Flat Tops Cowboy Church and Justin Todd Herod

• 1-2 p.m.: Sopris Alpaca Farm event

• 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Draft horse show

• Sunday Sundown night vigil on suicide awareness presented by Western Slope Hope

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or

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