Rifle Rendezvous goes big in its 20th year
When it was established 20 years ago, organizers created the Rifle Rendezvous as springtime get together geared toward families. It featured buck-skinning and other elements of the West.
Since then, the annual event has been regularly retooled to broaden its appeal, but that is not to say the event does not feature many of those activities from its origins, said Scott Brynildson, president of the Rifle Rendezvous. The changes have been more of an evolution than overhaul.
“It was really good,” Brynildson said of the Rendezvous’ early years. “But it seemed like the people wouldn’t come out, so we’ve tried to accommodate the wishes of the public.”
With continued year-to-year growth, organizers have achieved success in that effort, and they suspect the trend to continue this year when the 20th Rifle Rendezvous gets underway Friday, May 13.
Among the changes, the annual car show is moving from Heinz Park to the 100 block of east Third Street in downtown. That portion of the street will be closed off from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Along with the classic cars for viewing, there will be live music and a beer garden.
One block north on east Fourth Street, the New Ute Events Center will house an art and beer event that runs the same time as the car show.
The Friday night truck pull, which was added last year, returns this year. The event was one of the biggest draws at the 2015 Rendezvous.
Brynildson said organizers have focused on increasing the quality of the entertainment Saturday, and they feel they have done that.
Gene Sullivan will get things started at 4 p.m. with his “Jump for Jesus” program, followed by Jeff Fenholt live in concert in the indoor arena at the Garfield County Fairgrounds.
The fan-favorite bucking bulls will get underway at 7 p.m. in the outdoor arena, with a performance by Daryle Singletary, a nationally touring country musician, following the bulls.
Ticket prices for certain events will vary.
Throughout the evolution of the Rifle Rendezvous, Brynildson said he suspects some people are under the impression the carnival that operates all weekend at the fairgrounds is the extent of the Rendezvous.
While it is a big attraction, he said the event is much more than carnival rides, and Brynildson encouraged people to come out all three days for the numerous offerings.
“Please set aside the middle of May to slow down and enjoy the Rendezvous,” he said. “People in the area need to slow down and appreciate what they have for one weekend of the year.”
Those who decide to do so this year might be in luck. Unlike the cold and wet conditions that lingered in the area last year, the forecast for the weekend predicts sunshine and warm temperatures.
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