Range Ride date change signals Norris-Penrose’s ‘Western heritage days’

       For the Norris-Penrose Event Center, the upcoming stretch of rodeo activities is deserving of a name in itself.
       “We're trying to promote it as 'Western heritage days,'” said N-P Manager Bill Miller in a recent interview. “It's solid rodeo here from June 25 to July 12.”

A new, preliminary promotion for upcoming rodeos at the Norris-Penrose Event Center was Cowgirls and Cocktails" June 5. Close to 200 bought tickets for the charity event inside Norris-Penrose's entry facility. Above are the the three organizers (from left) Michelle Ebert, Cindy Fowler and Gina Kaiser.
Westside Pioneer photo

       The main events are the two annual rodeos at Norris-Penrose - the Ride for the Brand working cowboys event July 5 and the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Days (part of the Pro Rodeo circuit) July 9-12. Mixed in are various support events and activities, including Ride for the Brand's “cattle drive” dowtown July 4 and chuckwagon cook-off at the center July 5 and Pikes Peak or Bust's downtown parade and street festival July 8 and simultaneous family activities at Norris-Penrose each day of the rodeo.
       A strategic adjustment this year, in keeping with the Western heritage theme, has been to schedule the 60th annual Range Ride a week closer to Pikes Peak or Bust than in the past. The five-day ride, by volunteer horseback riders through the local mountains, is a traditional way of promoting that rodeo, whose proceeds go to a charity for military widows. “We're bunching these together on purpose,” Miller said.
       This year the Range Ride will start Wednesday, June 25. At about 8 a.m., after the traditional Street Breakfast downtown, roughly 150 riders will saddle up their steeds and amble west on Colorado Avenue to Limit Street to Eighth Street to Rio Grande Street and then to Norris-Penrose. From there, they will trailer the horses to a camp near Victor to start the actual ride, Miller explained.
       It will be the third year in a row the Range Riders have taken that post-Street Breakfast route. A police escort creates a rolling barricade as the horses walk along, including a crossing of Highway 24 at Eighth Street.
       Ride for the Brand is a separately promoted rodeo, featuring 100 cowboys from 25 Western ranches competing as teams. A few events are the same as Pro Rodeo (such as bronc- and bull-riding) while a few are different, based on typical ranch chores. A new event this year, for example, is called “Stray Gathering.”
       Proceeds from Ride for the Brand go to support working cowboys, and this year there will be two specific beneficiaries: Trey and Tyler Thompson of the Thompson Ranch, both of whom were badly injured this year in an auto accident. Tyler had won the “Top Hand” award at the 2007 rodeo.
       For more information on Ride for the Brand, call 635-7776 or go to rideforthebrandranchrodeo.com.
       For more information on Pikes Peak or Bust, call Norris-Penrose at 635-1101 or go to colorado-springsrodeo.com.

Westside Pioneer article