Rodeo rain falls plainly on the mane

       If it had been a baseball game, it would have been stopped.

Cowboys with the Broken Spear & San Jose Ranches of La Junta averted a major wreck after two lassoed yearlings crossed each other's paths during the stray gathering event at the Ride for the Brand Championship Ranch Rodeo at Norris-Penrose Event Center July 4.
Westside Pioneer photo

       But when a downpour hit the annual Working Ranch Cowboy Association (WRCA) rodeo at the Norris-Penrose Event Center July 4 during the stray gathering event, it didn't change a thing. Men on horseback continued to gallop across the stadium floor, aiming twirling ropes at the necks or hind legs of yearling calves, then flopping selflessly in the dirt/mud to tie off their prizes.
       Which is as it should be, according to Lavert Avent, a T-Cross Ranches employee who served as director of the rodeo (also known as Ride for the Brand). “These ranch cowboys are used to that,” he said. “When it rains, they've still got to get their work done. It's what they do every day.”
       Unlike the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo, a professional rodeo tour competition at Norris-Penrose that began July 8, the WRCA features teams of working cowboys from different ranches around the West (12 this year). The five events are different too, fashioned after typical activities that might occur as part of ranch work.
       Now in its 69th year, Pikes Peak or Bust will continue with shows nightly at 7 p.m. through Saturday, July 11, which also has a 1 p.m. matinee. Tickets are available through Tickets West or at the gate, with doors opening and a variety of attractions starting outside the stadium at 4 p.m.

Brothers Trey (left) and Tyler Thompson of the Thompson Ranch from Munday, Texas, finish tying off a yearling in the stray gathering event. The two have recovered from a near-fatal auto accident a year ago.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Avent estimated the Ride for the Brand crowd at about 2,000, although the attendance looked about the same as what's been estimated in past years as 4,000.
       Mark Bukowski, a volunteer member of the WRCA board who helped organize the rodeo, used the words “huge success” to describe how Ride for the Brand went in its first year under the management of the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Foundation. “It went great, regardless of the rain shower,” he said. “It just makes ranch rodeoing that much better.”
       A pleasant surprise, announced during the rodeo, was the participation of brothers Trey and Tyler Thompson of the Thompson Ranch. Just a few weeks before last year's WRCA rodeo in Colorado Springs, the two had been in an auto accident and were hurt so badly that some of the rodeo proceeds went for their medical costs.

Westside Pioneer article