Camaraderie and competition at the Snowmass Rodeo
Team roper Tommy Ding is back in action after pandemic hiatus
The Snowmass Rodeo takes place Wednesday nights, June 23-Aug. 18, at the rodeo grounds near Town Park in Snowmass Village. COVID-19 protocols are subject to change; check http://www.snowmassrodeo.org for the latest updates and to purchase tickets.
After last year’s pandemic hiatus, Basalt-based team roper Tommy Ding is among those who can’t wait to get back to the rodeo action when the season kicks off Wednesday in Snowmass Village. Ding has been participating in the Snowmass Rodeo for nearly a decade and currently serves on the board of directors for the Snowmass Western Heritage Association, which produces the event.
“It’s so much fun. … You’ll just see the camaraderie,” said the Basalt-based team roper. “Everyone is cheering for everybody — yeah, you want to win, but you’re just having fun.”
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Snowmass Sun: Last year, when the Snowmass Rodeo wasn’t happening, did you travel anywhere else to compete?
Tommy Ding: No, last year was just brutal, for everybody. Typically, there’s team roping events on the weekends throughout Colorado and there just wasn’t much. I think I went to one event last year in the summer in Montrose. Other than that, it was just practicing with some buddies, hanging out, just none of that — didn’t really get that competition.
SS: What keeps you coming back year after year to the rodeo?
TD: Oh, the fun, the competition. If you’ve done any sports yourself, you know — just that nervousness, … the butterflies. Snowmass Rodeo is just so picturesque.
It’s all locals that compete. The visitors, the people that watch it are from all over, but for us (who) compete, we’re just local people. It’s fun seeing your friends every Wednesday. … It’s just a chance to hang out, visit. And then last year, with nothing, gosh, there’s some people I haven’t seen in a year because we didn’t show up at any rodeos.
SS: How do you think it will feel to go back this year?
TD: As a contestant, I mean, I’m excited — I can’t wait to start the rodeo again.
As a board member, … it might be difficult for several weeks (adapting to public health guidelines) but at least there’s going to be a show, you know, and an event.
But I just think the people that show up to these events with their families, they just want to go out and have a good time with their family in a nice setting and the Snowmass Rodeo is the prettiest place.
A version of this story appears under the headline “Rodeo Rides Again” in the the Summer in Aspen and Snowmass 2021 magazine, which is on newsstands now and online at aspentimes.com/magazines.
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