Coloradans craving more rodeo are in luck.
The 2016 Ride for the Brand Championship Ranch Rodeo will be coming to the Norris-Penrose Event Center Aug. 20.
This is the rodeo’s 14th year, and the event is organized by a committee and volunteers. Last year, the rodeo presented the Working Ranch Cowboy Foundation with a $10,000 donation, it’s largest contribution, that will be used to help working cowboys with financial challenges.
“This event is being put on by local business [people who volunteer] their time, money and expertise,” said Chris Valentine, rodeo spokesperson and volunteer. “Bankers, financial planners, small business owners — these are the people … who are putting in the time and energy above and beyond their daily work because they love the Western way of life.”
But Valentine said the Western lifestyle isn’t always glamourous.
“Cowboys are laborers and don’t make a ton of money,” he said. “If tragedy like a wildfire or injury hits, the foundation steps up to provide money to cover those costs.”
Money raised by the rodeo this year will also support the Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center, which uses horseback riding to support people with injuries and challenges, to include military and kids with disabilities, Valentine said.
So what exactly is ranch rodeo and how is it different from the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo?
The first difference is the participants — they are real cowboys who work in the saddle all week and compete for their ranch on the weekend. All participants must be ranch owners, full-time employees or day workers. (The WRCA defines a “working ranch” as having at least 300 head of cattle to be eligible for a team permit.)
The other thing that spectators will notice, according to a new release, is that there is no bull riding. All of the events must relate to something that working cowboys do every day during the course of normal ranch work. The events are ranch-bronc riding, wild cow milking, ranch branding, stray gathering and ranch sorting.
The last event of the night is a “fan favorite” — trailer loading. Four men and three horses must work together to get one cow into a trailer.
Following the rodeo, Nashville, Tenn. recording artist Ned Ledoux will perform.
Aug. 19 — Longhorn Cattle Drive and Cowboy Culture Day
At high noon, cowboys on horseback will drive a herd of longhorn cattle down Tejon Street. The cattle drive starts at high noon on north Tejon, near Colorado College, and proceeds south to the Pioneers Museum. Cattle, cowboys and a historic wagon make this cattle drive a unique sight in downtown Colorado Springs.
At the end of the cattle drive, the cattle will be penned near the Pioneers Museum for visitors to get a close-up look at these animals with horns as long as 6 feet. There will be a variety of Western displays and activities for the whole family from noon-2 p.m. on the lawn of the Pioneers Museum to celebrate cowboy culture.
Aug. 20 — Ride for the Brand Championship Ranch Rodeo
At 6 p.m the cowboys will ride into the Norris-Penrose Event Center arena to start the 2016 Ride for the Brand Championship Ranch Rodeo, a Working Ranch Cowboys Association-sanctioned event. Proceeds benefit the Cowboy Crisis Fund and the Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center.