Dandy turnout for Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo
Traffic a ‘happy problem’ for Norris-Penrose
Other than the “happy problem” of traffic jams, the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo had one of its best years ever July 12-16, according to Bill Miller, the annual event's
Earnings were up considerably over last year, and “Saturday night's show was the best attended in recent memory,” he said.
The Norris-Penrose Event Center, where the event was held, is owned by the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Foundation, which gives its excess proceeds to military charities.
Offering an overall purse of $206,000 this year, the 66th annual five-day event is the 25th biggest rodeo of the 700-plus on the ProRodeo circuit, Miller said.
The construction of a new, three-level entry facility at the east end of center's Penrose Stadium helped the gate this year, he believes. The facility provides an entrance, ticket booths, concessions, bathrooms and, on its main level, an open-air view of the stadium at just above horseback height. “It was well received by the public,” Miller said. “You could get right up and touch a cowboy if you wanted.”
Side activities were also popular. In addition to the sanctioned competition - six men's events (steer wrestling, bareback riding, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie- down roping and bullriding) and women's barrel racing - there were an old-time chuck wagon cookoff, chuck wagon racing, wild cow milking, wild horse racing and a carnival.
The cookoff was new, and it was the first time for the chuck wagon racing since 1998, Miller said. The racers were supplied by Norm Sinclair of Carrot River, Saskatchewan, Canada.
“They were riding along the rail, slinging dirt clods into the crowd,” Miller said. “People loved it.”
There were six cook-off participants July 15, with judges picking the wagon from the Heart Bar Ranch in Monument as the winner in terms of good food and historic authenticity.
Traffic slowdowns caused backups on Rio Grande and Eighth streets for people trying to get to the rodeo at times. The foundation board is already working on alleviating that problem next year. “We've got to coordinate better with the police,” Miller said.
There were a total of 647 entries, down slightly from the 689 last year. Expensive gasoline - a key issue for cowboys driving large diesel rigs - was probably the reason, he said.
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