For the 98th consecutive year, the rodeo grounds off Gregg Drive welcomed numerous competitors and a host of spectators to the Collegiate Peaks Stampede Rodeo.
“We considered this a successful weekend, both the dance and rodeo,” said Jan Johnson, treasurer of the Collegiate Peaks Stampede Rodeo Board.
The Rodeo Dance, which was held at VFW Post 1166 in Johnson Village, got the weekend started on Friday night. About 125 people attended the event and enjoyed music, food and gathering with fellow Chaffee County and Buena Vista residents.
The rodeo events on Saturday, which began at 6 p.m., entertained a crowd of more than 600 spectators. Competitors (who travel from all across the western United States) numbered around 250 for events on Saturday and Sunday.
Sunday afternoon drew a crowd of around 400.
The Rodeo Board says that it strives to provide top-quality entertainment and an engaging atmosphere for Rodeo enthusiasts. As a result, making a profit falls secondary to providing a quality show.
“The high costs of stock, a professional announcer and advertising have certainly impacted our bottom line,” explained Johnson. “At this point, we were able to pay for the rodeo but did not see a large profit.”
For many local organizations, the rodeo offers an opportunity to connect with and engage the community.
51:10 Youth Ranch, a local non-profit mentorship program, participated in this year’s rodeo dance and rodeo after doing so for the first time last year.
“The dance is a great kick off to the rodeo weekend,” said 51:10 co-founder, Greg Verrier. “We appreciate the rodeo continues to include 51:10 Youth Ranch.”
Not only does the rodeo offer opportunity for networking and outreach, but also for fundraising. 51:10 strives to keep its programming free-of-charge, and available to youth throughout the valley.
“We are grateful the rodeo board invited us to provide the food at the dance. Between the dance and the rodeo, we raised $1,375 for 51:10,” said Verrier.