New Weekend Event to Showcase Everyday Cowboy Skills
RIDGWAY – “There’s no bucking stock,” said Erin Stadelman, who is organizing the rodeo events coming next weekend, June 15 and 16, at the inaugural Ridgway Heritage Days and Ranch Rodeo. But that doesn’t mean there is no “peril” in the ranch-work oriented events scheduled, which includes loading cows and horses into a trailer for time, doctoring cattle without hands touching them, and running numbered cows through a tricky trails course.
“They are designed to mimic the actual work of ranch cowboys,” Stadelman said. And 10 teams of four-to-five working cowboys from ranches in Ouray, Montrose, Delta, Mesa and San Miguel counties will go head to head in what promises to be an entertaining new early-summer event, sponsored by the Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce and the Ouray County Rodeo Association.
The Ranch Rodeo happens on Saturday, but there is a full slate of western and history-themed fun on tap at the Fairgrounds and across the street in Hartwell Park through the weekend.
Saturday begins with a 10 a.m. parade/progression to the Fairgrounds that includes 4-H animals, their children, and the Rodeo Royalty on horseback. The Ranch Rodeo follows from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Stadelman promises a competitive good time. And with the stock she has “borrowed” from the Double RL Ranch, the Nicholas Feed Yard in Delta and the Western Slope Cattlemen’s Auction Sale Yard in Grand Junction, animal unpredictability will no doubt frustrate many a best-laid plan.
Each cowboy team will consist of four paying members and one “free” member, who must be either female or under 18. Teams will pay $400 apiece to enter. They’ll perform intricate cutting, roping and herding maneuvers, in under three minutes (the cutoff time), basic jobs cowboys perform all the time – but in this case under pressure and on the clock. In the trailer-loading event, time will not be called until all cowboys are inside the pickup with the doors closed.
Winners will take home 50 percent of the purse, second place gets 30 percent, and third place earns 20 percent.
After the rodeo, there will be a barn dance in the park, from 7:30-11:30 p.m., with Opal Moon playing western swing inside the tent. RACC will supply the beer, and there will be contests for the best pair of boots and the best western costume.
Sunday is Heritage Days in the Park, and inside Town Hall, where the Ouray County Ranch History Museum is sponsoring a brace of multi-media presentations. Beginning at noon, Jon Horn from Alpine Archaeological will talk about the wagon trails that brought settlers to the Ouray County area. Rancher Tim Force will give a talk from 1:15-2:30 p.m., illustrated with photos from historic local ranching families, on ranch life through the four seasons.
Meanwhile, in the park, there’s a pancake breakfast hosted by the Ridgway Volunteer Fire Department, a special farmers market featuring local cheese, wine, herbs and produce, games and face painting for the kids, blacksmiths smithing, cowboy poetry and music. And thanks to Roland McCook, Ute drummers and hoop dancers will fill the park with their rhythms. McCook promises Ute fry bread as well.
For more information, visit ridgwaycolorado.com, 970/626-5181, or on Facebook at: Ridgway.Heritage.Ranch.Rodeo.
Saturday, June 15
At the Ouray County Fairgrounds:
10 a.m., Parade
11 a.m.-4 p.m., Ranch Rodeo, Barrel Racing, Jr. Gymkhana, Mounted Shooting, Meet the Animals
At Hartwell Park
7:30-11:30 p.m., Barn Dance with Opal Moon
Sunday, June 16
At the Park:
7-10 a.m., Pancake Breakfast at the Firehouse
All day, Farmers Market, Blacksmiths, Cowboy Poetry and Music, Carnival Games, Ute Indian Dancers
12-1:15 p.m., Lecture at Town Hall by Jon Horn on the wagon trails leading into Ouray County
1:15-2:30 p.m., Lecture at Town Hall by Tim Force on ranch life illustrated by historic local photos.