The Snowmass Rodeo celebrates a landmark 45 years this summer season. One of the longest running rodeos in Colorado, the Snowmass Rodeo occurs every Wednesday, rain or shine, from June 13-August 22, 2018, including on the Fourth of July. The true Colorado Western experience includes competitions such as Saddle Bronc and Bull Riding, Team Roping, and Barrel Racing. Children can participate in the Calf Scramble and Mutton Busting events.
In honor of 45 years of Old West tradition, this summer the rodeo’s theme is “the year of the volunteer”. “Volunteers are what makes the Snowmass Rodeo so successful,” says Darce Vold, SWHA Executive Director. “Without the volunteers who return year after year, the rodeo wouldn’t be celebrating 45 years. This summer, look for profiles of our long standing volunteers in the Rodeo Program, as well as a tribute during the first rodeo of the season, on June 13.”
Rodeo arena gates open at 5:00 p.m. Pre-rodeo activities including a petting zoo, a bouncy house, and kids roping, mechanical bull rides, a cowboy saloon, and a BBQ dinner. The rodeo begins promptly at 7:00 p.m. with professional events including Bareback Riding, Bull Riding, Team Roping, Barrel Racing, and Saddle Bronc riding. Kids are welcome to compete in the Calf Scramble and Mutton Bustin’.
Professional Rodeo Activity Descriptions:
- Bareback Riding – While simplistic in equipment, bareback riding is trickier than it looks. Not only are the horses powerful, but the riders must be in excellent physical shape to stay aboard during the eight-second ride. With nothing to hold but a suitcase-like handle, the cowboy must maintain balance and remain controlled and coordinated with the horse’s motion throughout the ride.
- Barrel Racing – Three barrels, one horse, and one woman, barrel racing is simplistic and graceful. The rider must race around the barrels set in a cloverleaf pattern, while making sure not to knock any over, all while staying within the time limit. The sport is timed to the hundredth of a second.
- Bull Riding – Riders climb on the back of a 2,000 pound bull before it explodes from a gate with one thing on this mind: to get the rider off his back. To stay aboard the bull, the rider grasps a flat braided rope, which is wrapped around the bull’s chest, just behind its front legs and over the withers. With a nod of his head, the gate is flung open and the bull bounds into the arena. While this is the most dangerous event in rodeo, it involves the least amount of rules. Riders must stay on for eight seconds while refraining from touching themselves or the bull with their free hand.
- Saddle Bronc Riding – Saddle Bronc Riding is known as “rodeo’s classic event.” It derived from the practice of breaking saddle horses, but evolved into an event that combines strength, style, grace, and rhythm. The contestant sits in a saddle with no saddle horn at the front. For support, the rider holds a thick rein, which can only be held with one hand. When the gate swings open, every move the rider makes is an effort to remain synchronized with the horse’s movements. If the rider touches any part of the horse or himself with his free hand or bucks off before the eight-second whistle, he is disqualified.
- Team Roping – Partnership, precise timing, and anticipation – this is what team roping is about. Between header and heeler, this is the only true team event in rodeo. Both contestants begin in their respective “boxes” on either side of the chute containing the steer. Once the steer has received its head start out of the chute, the header takes off in pursuit of the steer, roping it around the horns, then turns the steer quickly to the left so the heeler has a shot at its hind legs. The fastest time wins.
In addition to professional rodeo activities, the Snowmass Rodeo offers events and activities for guests to participate in as well.
- Calf Scramble – Children between the ages of 4 and 10 lineup in the arena while calves with ribbons on their tails are released from their pens. The objective is to grab a ribbon or any part of that ribbon off a calf’s tail and return it to the Arena Official. Once all the ribbons have been removed from the calves’ tails, the contest is over and all participants receive a prize.
- Mutton Bustin’ – Little buckaroos “cowboy up” and hold on to a woolly sheep for eight exciting seconds. Participation is limited to boys and girls between the ages of 4 and 7, weighing less than 50 lbs.
- Burro Racing – Burro racing is a crowd participation event, requiring three teams of three. Three burros are lined up with one person riding on the burro, one person pulling on a lead rope, and one person pushing the burro. The first team of three to get their burro around the barrel and across the finish line wins.
Photo Credit: Hal Williams