Snowmass Rodeo cancels its 47th summer season, will return for 2021
The Snowmass Rodeo is canceling its 47th summer season due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, officials announced Tuesday.
The village’s longtime western tradition has been a summer staple for many local and visiting families for years and was hard to call off completely, said Darce Vold, executive director and rodeo stock contractor of the Snowmass Rodeo.
“It was a really difficult thing because the rodeo is so beloved in Snowmass and is an event a lot of people count on,” Vold said. The Snowmass Rodeo is produced by the Snowmass Western Heritage Association (SWHA), which decided at its Monday night board meeting the rodeo would not take place again until summer 2021.
“But as a group we decided it was in the best interest of everyone to postpone until next year.”
Up until Monday, Vold said the Snowmass Rodeo had planned to delay the start of the summer season from June to July and to take on the full cost of the weekly event. Vold said rodeo officials knew the event’s typical business sponsors were hurting due to the pandemic and wanted to be mindful of that.
But with the strict public health policies and social distancing requirements that are in place and will continue in some fashion through the summer, Vold said she and the SWHA board felt it best to cancel the season altogether.
“We didn’t think families could come and enjoy the rodeo like we’d like them to, and that’s important,” Vold said.
Officials with the Carbondale Wild West Rodeo, which is the other rodeo in the Roaring Fork Valley and happens on Thursdays, said earlier this month that they still plan to host weekly events.
“We will rodeo when the Town of Carbondale allows us to use the Gus Darien Arena and allow groups of people to gather. At this time we do not have a date,” officials said May 9 on the rodeo’s Facebook page. “We will be posting the opening date as soon as we know it. Most likely we will not be able to run a full 12 week series this year.”
Over the past 46 years, the Snowmass Rodeo has aimed to engage local and visiting families in a fun way, introducing them to a lifestyle they may be unfamiliar with.
The rodeo usually kicks off with a family style barbecue, then features traditional bull and bronc riding events alongside kids’ mutton bustin’ and calf scramble competitions, ending with s’mores around a fire pit.
Vold has been putting on the Snowmass Rodeo for 23 years and contracting stock for the event even longer. All of her summers since she was 10 years old have been spent at rodeo grounds, and she comes from a rodeo family who is going through the same difficult decision-making she is in other places due to the pandemic.
But despite the downsides, Vold knows the Snowmass Rodeo will be back in 2021 at the same high caliber and with the same tight-knit, family culture — something she and her staff looks forward to.
“It’s not easy, but we’ll manage. We’ll get through this,” Vold said.
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