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Carbondale rodeo series opens

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE – “Small Town Rodeo. Big Time Fun.” That’s the motto of the Carbondale Wild West Rodeo series, which opens Thursday at the Gus Darien Riding Arena on County Road 100, about one mile east of town.

The rodeo series has been organized for the past five years by the volunteer non-profit Carbondale Rodeo Committee.

“Our goal all along has been to try to maintain the western heritage, and especially to make it enjoyable for the kids,” said committee president and co-founder Dave Weimer. “We want the kids to grow up knowing what rodeo is and to be a part of it, whether they’re a contestant or just coming out to watch.”

In addition to popular adult rodeo events such as bull riding, team roping and barrel racing, the Carbondale rodeo features a variety of events for kids, like mutton bustin’ and the kid’s calf scramble.

There’s also steer riding for ages 16 and younger, breakaway roping, and a junior barrel racing division.

“Having those types of things is really important for what we do,” Weimer said. “It’s a real community thing, with a focus on the locals. But people come from all up and down the valley.”

New this season for the adults is saddle bronc riding.

“Originally based on the necessary horse breaking of a working cowboy, saddle bronc riding is regarded as the classic test of finesse and brawn,” according to a description of the event posted on the Carbondale rodeo’s website [www.carbondalerodeo.com].

The Carbondale rodeo runs each Thursday through Aug. 19. Gates open at 5:30 p.m., and slack is at 6:30 p.m.

Spectators and participants are invited to bring a portable BBQ or a picnic dinner. There are also concessions on site provided by Big Mamma’s Catering, and the local Senior Matters has a “sno-concessions” stand to raise funds for the local senior center.

Grand entry is at 7:30 p.m., followed by the rodeo events. Admission is $8 per person (10 and under free), or $25 for a carload up to six people (each additional person is $5).

The rodeo grounds is also easily accessible from the Rio Grande Trail. A special trail down to the county road across from the rodeo grounds entrance was constructed last year to make for more convenient access by bicycle or foot.

The Carbondale Rodeo Committee is still looking for parking and gate attendant volunteers to help each week. For more information, contact Melanie Cardiff at (970) 379-0809, or e-mail cardiff@sopris.net.

“The volunteers really do help things go a whole lot smoother from an event standpoint,” Weimer said.

This year’s Carbondale rodeo queen is Ashley Soucie from Basalt. Queen attendant is Dani Brownell from Carbondale, and rodeo princesses are McKenzie Long from Rifle and Madilyn Kuhl from Carbondale.

jstroud@postindependent.com


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