No ‘bust’ for annual rodeo – attendance rises again

       Attendance for the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Days increased again this year, according to Bill Miller, manager of the Norris-Penrose Event Center, where the annual bash concluded its four-day run July 12. Outside the stadium, a young rider tries to stay on board a sheep in the “Mutton Bustin’” activity for children. 
Onlookers include parents who were paying $10 a ride (which sometimes lasted less than a second).
Westside Pioneer photo
       Final ticket sales were not yet available, but he said preliminary counts showed they exceeded the 25,000 from last year 's 67th annual rodeo (which in turn had topped the previous year's record).
       Uncountable were the numbers of people who Miller believes did not buy rodeo tickets but just came to enjoy the various offerings outside the stadium, including sheep and camel rides, a small carnival, chuckwagon cooking, Indian dancing, roping instruction, Wild West shoot-outs and chances to meet rodeo queens from various western states.
       “It seems like the community is getting behind the event again,” Miller said. While it was happening, “I had people walking up and saying they want to be a sponsor, or 'I want be a volunteer, put me somewhere.'”
       Also being added up this week was the total dollars raised for military charities. After expenses, that's where the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Foundation donates proceeds from the event. “We're still getting checks from sponsors,” Miller said, happily.
       In the rodeo, nearly 600 competed in six men's and one women's event. Here are the winners:
  • Bareback Riding: 1, Jake Halverson, Amarillo, Texas, $6,149.
  • Steer Wrestling: 1 (tie), Gabe LeDoux, Kaplan, La., and Les Shepperson, Midwest, Wyo., $2,468.
  • Team Roping: 1, Garrett Tonozzi, Fruita, Colo., and Kinney Harrell, San Angelo, Texas; $1,821.
  • Saddle Bronc Riding: 1, Anthony Bello, Oakley, Utah, $6,398.
  • Tie-Down Roping: 1, Clint Cooper, Decatur, Texas, $2,367.
  • Barrel Racing: 1 (tie), Delores Toole, Manter, Kan.; and Nellie Williams, Cottonwood, Calif.; $4,439.
  • Bull Riding: 1, Casey Baize, San Angelo, Texas, $7,733.
           Pikes Peak or Bust is part of the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association tour.

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