Not their first rodeo |

Not their first rodeo


What: 43rd annual Snowmass Rodeo

When: Every Wednesday through Aug. 17. Barbeque starts at 5 p.m.; rodeo starts at 7 p.m.

Where: Snowmass Village Rodeo Grounds, 2954 Brush Creek Road. See directions for more.

Cost: General admission is $20 for adults; $15 for youth (ages 11 to 15). V.I.P. is $25 for adults; $20 for youth. Admission for children 10 and under is free.

Refunds will be not given for any reason; the rodeo goes on rain or shine, according to the Snowmass Rodeo’s website.

For more information, visit

Directions to the Snowmass Rodeo:

From Aspen: Follow Highway 82 west out of town to the Brush Creek turnoff to Snowmass Village. Turn left onto Brush Creek Road and drive for about four miles (past the roundabout). Turn right into the Snowmass Village Rodeo Grounds parking lot.

From down valley: Follow Highway 82 towards Aspen to the Brush Creek turnoff to Snowmass Village. Turn right onto Brush Creek Road and drive for about four miles (past the roundabout). Turn right into the Snowmass Village Rodeo Grounds parking lot.


There are few events that cater to both 4-year-olds and 84-year olds alike.

That’s because the 43rd annual Snowmass Rodeo isn’t like most events, as rodeo volunteer Caroline Gibson explained.

“We offer a different kind of entertainment,” Gibson said. “It’s a window into the past and a window into the history of ranching, cowboys and the West.”

Snowmass Tourism Director Rose Abello said she “cannot overstate the incredible impression” that the Snowmass Rodeo leaves on its international guests.

“Very few other countries have anything like rodeos. Most think that this staple of American West is a thing of the past,” she said.

But Abello was quick to add that the rodeo “isn’t just for visitors. It’s also a huge and important community event.”

Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation President Deborah Breen said she attends the Snowmass Rodeo every week during the summer to get her “horse and cowboy fix.”

Breen said she loves to bring her co-workers, friends and family to the Snowmass Rodeo whenever possible.

“It’s a nice break from civilization,” Aspen native Coco Writer said at a rodeo earlier this summer.


Pig out before the show (starting at 5 p.m.) with a special Western-style barbecue prepared by Conundrum Catering.

The local catering company whips up a variety of mouthwatering meats and sides, including St. Louis-style ribs, chicken, cheeseburgers, pulled-pork sandwiches, coleslaw, baked beans and more.

After all, it isn’t the group’s first rodeo, either.

In the early 1980s and ’90s, Conundrum Catering owner Kip Feight and executive chef Thomas Jaggi served food at the Snowmass Western Heritage Rodeo, according to the Snowmass Rodeo program.


Snowmass Western Heritage Rodeo is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 2003 in an effort to keep the Western heritage of Snowmass Village and the Roaring Fork Valley alive.

The organization produces the Snowmass Rodeo each week, the program said, along with a whole team of staff members that consists of but is not limited to the arena director and crew, livestock contractors, flag carriers, announcers, judges and, of course, the participants.

Volunteers also play a vital role in putting on the show, as anyone who’s attended the Snowmass Rodeo knows.

“It just would not be possible without all of the locals who support it and the volunteers who give of their time each week,” Abello said.

In addition to its events, the Snowmass Rodeo also features a free petting zoo, a mechanical bull for the more courageous rodeo attendees, an inflatable bouncy house and vendors that sell all sorts of goods from handmade jewelry to homemade fudge.


Bareback Riding

Team Roping

Mutton Bustin’

Saddle Bronc Riding

Calf Scramble

Dally Ribbon Roping

Burro Racing

Barrel Racing

Bull Riding


Even an event as deeply rooted in Western history and tradition as the Snowmass Rodeo can offer new tricks.

This season, a singer from the Aspen Music Festival will belt the lyrics to the national anthem.

“It is incredible and oftentimes leaves me with chills,” Gibson said.

The sense of patriotism experienced at an old-fashioned American rodeo is hard to miss, as New Jersey resident Howard Siegel pointed out.

“It’s all about being an American,” said Siegel, who attended the Snowmass Rodeo — his first rodeo — on July 13. “I loved it.”


Stick around for a sing-along around the campfire led by rodeo aficionado Twirp Anderson, who has been involved with the Snowmass Rodeo since its inception 43 years ago.


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