Rodeo provides a great show |

Rodeo provides a great show

Jeff CaspersenGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent Photo/Kara K. Pearson

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. A wildly popular Strawberry Days fixture, count on the rodeo to again be a big-draw event in a festivity-filled weekend.Last year’s Strawberry Days Rodeo, sanctioned by the Colorado Pro Rodeo Association, drew about 1,500 spectators and more than 200 contestants.With a full gamut of events lacing the schedule – from bull riding to the always-cute mutton bustin’ – local rodeo aficionados and the uninitiated alike should find something to their liking at the Glenwood Rodeo Arena Friday and Saturday. Event coordinator Leslie Torres counts mutton busting, bull riding and barrel racing among the most popular events to take in.

“Mutton busting is always popular, ladies barrel racing is fun to watch,” she said. “People like pretty much any rough stock event like bronc riding. More and more, people are enjoying the roping.”Given that rodeo events require so much athletic ability – agility, hand-eye coordination and sheer strength – Torres doesn’t find its popularity surprising.”It’s amazing,” she said. “Just the amount of skill and teamwork and practice involved. To watch the horses, the guys and gals ride, they’re just awesome.”The youth events are always exciting, noted Torres. A few years back, mutton busting and catch-a-calf were added to the Strawberry Days rodeo slate. In mutton busting, kids 7 years old and younger simply ride sheep for as long as possible.The catch-a-calf features youngsters 12 and under chasing down six calves with bandannas tied to their tails. Once given the signal, the kids run down the calves, remove the bandanna and try to make it back to the center of the arena before anyone else.”The crowd loves it,” Torres said of catch-a-calf. “It’s fun to watch, and we can get a huge number of kids in there.”

Putting a rodeo together is no small task, Torres notes. A committee of seven is charged with planning and coordination, and a mass of volunteers are brought in to help run the show.Strawberry Days planners draw a good chunk of its volunteer base from Rifle’s Fellowship of Christian Cowboys and Garfield County 4H’s shooting sports program, both partial beneficiaries of rodeo proceeds.”The night of the event, we need 40 to 50 volunteers,” she said. “Finding volunteers is one thing, but finding volunteers to run the chute is a whole different thing. The Fellowship of Christian Cowboys have a fair amount of people who know what they’re doing. We make a donation to them and they come out and are awesome.”

Having volunteers uneducated to the ways of the rodeo can be disastrous. “You have to have pretty specific volunteers,” Torres explained. “People could get hurt, and we try to get the rodeo done at a decent hour. It can be a bit of a nuthouse back there.”Expect the rodeo to run until about 10 or 10:30 p.m. both Friday and Saturday nights. Also expect a diverse crowd.”You get people who never been to the rodeo in their lives and you get people who are retired from the rodeo,” Torres said. “It’s across the board. We get probably 60 percent local and 40 percent out of town.”

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