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June 12, 2012
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Meet your merchant: Snowmass Rodeo

A local cowboy named Doug McLain thought it would be a good idea to have a local weekly rodeo in Snowmass Village in 1973. The Snowmass Corp. that owned the land then allowed him to use the land, but he spent his own money on building an arena, buying bucking chutes and leasing rough stock for those first rodeos. Drawing crowds of 1,400 people, the Snowmass Rodeo was a roaring success. Snowmass Corp. paid McLain back for his expenditures. Although there have been different owners and operators, the Snowmass Rodeo has continued uninterrupted every year in the same spot.

Good ole western-style family entertainment! We produce a weekly rodeo every Wednesday evening for 10 weeks every summer, in the same place and using the same bucking chutes as when it all started in '73. The rodeo also offers Hickory House barbecue, a full bar, a free petting zoo, a bouncy house and a mechanical bull. Plus we have several vendors: Collections, offering western hats and clothing and toys, Aspen Candy Company with its sweets, and Discovery Snowmass with photo T-shirts and jewelry and crafts from local artists.

People are still traveling, and they are looking for reasonably priced entertainment that is suitable for the entire family. Since we fit into that category, we continue to draw more than 1,000 spectators a night. However, as a nonprofit association that depends largely on contributions from local businesses and individuals, we have found fundraising has become more challenging since 2008.

That's easy! Just about all of those involved in the Snowmass Rodeo are volunteers. So we know our "staff" works out of love for rodeo and our western heritage. A few who are paid, such as judges and the announcer, are rodeo specialists.

Every year we look for ways to enhance the entertainment value of the rodeo, as well as do what we can to spruce up and improve the rodeo grounds. This year we're adding a new event for adult spectators: burro racing. It's sure to be as much fun, maybe more, than the kids' events, mutton bustin' and calf scramble.

People that come to the Snowmass Rodeo are as awed by the views surrounding the rodeo grounds as they are by the action that takes place in the arena. Few rodeo locations are as spectacular. Another added bonus is the number of volunteers, particularly from the Snowmass Rotary Club, who enjoy taking part in putting on a great show

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The Aspen Times Updated Jun 12, 2012 06:30PM Published Jun 12, 2012 06:21PM Copyright 2012 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.