SNOWMASS VILLAGE - Now in its 39th year, the Snowmass Rodeo has a lot of traditions and old standbys included in its weekly event. This year it could be starting a new tradition with the addition of burro racing for adult spectators.
The rodeo, presented by the Snowmass Western Heritage Association, begins today and takes place every Wednesday night for 10 weeks, with the exception of the week of July 4, when it will take place on a Friday as part of Wild West Weekend in Snowmass Village. Part of an amateur rodeo circuit, it includes bronco riding, bull riding, barrel racing and roping, as well as the popular mutton busting and calf scramble for kids.
The kids' events partly inspired this year's addition of burro racing, which is included in other similar community rodeos, said Chris Kelly, executive director of the heritage association.
"We thought maybe those were so successful because the adults really ... would like to get in there too," Kelly said.
The event involves three teams of three participants who have to move a burro from one end of the arena to the other.
"In theory, one would be on it, one would be pulling and one would be pushing," Kelly said. "Burros aren't all that cooperative, and they don't move that quickly."
The competition is for adults 18 and older, because there is a chance of getting kicked. Kelly said it's not too dangerous though, and contestants will have to be humane in how they handle the animals.
Since this is a new event that people might be unfamiliar with, the association decided to sign up firefighters and town officials from Snowmass Village, Aspen and Basalt for the first two weeks. Spectators who would like to compete after the first two weeks should start gathering a team and sign up the night they want to participate, Kelly said.
The rodeo grounds open at 5 p.m. The Hickory House serves barbecue from 5 to 10 p.m. Vendors including Collections, formerly on the Snowmass Mall, and Aspen Candy Company will sell goods in booths.
The traditional marshmallow roast has been canceled because of local fire bans, but singer Twirp Anderson will still perform during dinner and after the rodeo.