Pikes Peak or Bust starts July 13 at Penrose

       “We're going to have the rodeo whether we're ready or not,” joshed Norris-Penrose Events Center General Manager Bill Miller this week, as he looked ahead to the start of the 65th annual Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Wednesday, July 13.
       Returning to an outdoor venue at Norris-Penrose's Penrose Stadium, the annual rodeo will run through Sunday, July 17. Making preparations interesting for Miller and other center workers is that this Saturday a super motocross event is scheduled, meaning numerous tons of extra dirt must be brought in, then shipped out before the cowboys and cowgirls hit town (slack competition begins at 8 a.m. July 12).
       Event coordinators had moved the Pikes Peak or Bust date from the traditional August time frame to mesh logistically with two other major Front Range rodeos in July (at Greeley and Cheyenne), and this seems to have paid off. Miller said there will be 669 participants - a 23 percent increase from last year's 544. “That's a big bump, and I would attribute 80-90 percent of that to the change in dates,” he said. “A lot of them have been saving up for this run. They can compete for a lot of dollars without putting a lot of miles on their trucks.”
       A second factor, according to Miller, is that cowboys and barrel racers prefer to compete outdoors. The event has been at the indoor World Arena the past three years.
       In any case, “We're excited about that,” Miller said. “We thought maybe we'd get 30 more entries than last year. So this was a pleasant surprise.”
       Events will be at 7 p.m. nightly, except the final day, July 17, which has a 1:30 p.m. starting time. Tickets start at $8, and are available at Norris-Penrose and various area ticket outlets.
       Miller said that ticket sales so far have been “very brisk… There's a great deal of enthusiasm. A lot of people say it's the outdoor arena - the way it's meant to be.”
       A new feature at this year's rodeo will be a large carnival, taking up about two-thirds of the parking lot south of the stadium. There will be about 15 rides, including a ferris wheel, Miller said.

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