Snowmass Rodeo opens season
SNOWMASS VILLAGE The Snowmass Rodeo opens today for its 35th consecutive season. The rodeo, with events such as bull riding, barrel racing and saddleback bronc will run Wednesdays through Aug. 22. This season will feature new activities for spectators, including a petting zoo – returning from a two-year hiatus – featuring llamas, a goat and other animals. There also will be a motor-driven bull for budding cowboys to try out for $5.
Still, the main attraction remains the Grand Entry – at 7 p.m. – where cowboys and cowgirls compete for cash prizes in events such as bull riding, bareback riding and dally ribbon roping. In addition, there will be a local drill team, a synchronized riding team and Anita Witt, with her trick ponies. Mike Land, an experienced rodeo announcer, will join longtime announcer Twirp Anderson.
“Word has gotten around among visitors and locals that there’s a big party in Snowmass Village at the Rodeo Grounds on Wednesday evenings,” said Chris Kelly, executive director of the Snowmass Western Heritage Association, the nonprofit organization that operates the Rodeo. “It’s not unusual to have 800 to 1,000 spectators.”Gates open at 5 p.m., with plenty of activities, such as roping lessons for kids and $10 pony rides.
Kids younger than 10 get in free, and kids 11-15 are $10. Adult tickets to the rodeo are $16. VIP seating, in front of the bucking chutes, are $25 for adults, $10 for children 6-15 years old, and free for kids, age 5 and younger. The Snowmass Rodeo is not the only rodeo in the valley.
Carbondale’s Wild West Rodeo offers many of the same events – barrel racing, bull riding, calf scramble, dally ribbon, mutton-bustin’ and team roping. Gates at the Gus Darien Riding Arena on Catherine Store Road open at 5:30 p.m. every Thursday, and many choose to come early to barbecue. Admission costs $8 per person, $25 a truckload (up to six), and kids younger than 10 are admitted free.
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The Roaring Fork Valley has, by-and-large, avoided the mountain pine beetle and spruce beetle infestations that have decimated parts of the state. However, a 2019 aerial survey showed the Roaring Fork watershed has an outbreak of Douglas-fir and western balsam beetles.