|Youth rodeo will be held here next weekend, May 25-26. Gold buckle dreams sparkle in young Tanner Fry’s eyes, but for this cowboy athlete, he is on a mission to do more than just take part in rodeos; he has created one. Memorial Day weekend will be his first Youth Rodeo event at the Saddle Club just north of Downtown Westcliffe and Fry is looking for more contestants, sponsors, fans, and volunteers.
Fry explained what inspired him to build a rodeo from scratch right as he finishes his sophomore year in high school. “I like to compete in rodeos, my dad does it, and I traveled to Alaska last year to compete. But I realized that there are not many events for youth in the county or region. So instead of traveling, I decided to start a rodeo.”
Fry is confident, honest in his conversation. His worn spurs jingle as he walks into the office, removing his broad brimmed hat. “I know how rodeos work, and I know who to call for stock, contestants, and how much to charge. The Saddle Club has really supported me creating several rodeo events this summer.”
But while Fry is unwavering in his ability to pull off a new rodeo, he knows this first go-round will be a learning lesson. “I am hoping to do several youth rodeos per year, and I am already learning a lot about how this will all work.” Fry nods his respects, secures his hat, and continues his walk down Main Street, looking for sponsors.
Creating a new youth rodeo harkens back to the founding days of the Saddle Club and it’s rodeo grounds north of town. The club was founded by young men who had a need for speed, at least on horseback, over 70 years ago. The young ranchers built a racetrack north of town and raced. People from the towns started to attend, paying entry fees and placing discrete little side bets with each other. Over the decades the small collection of horsemen became the Saddle Club, now dedicated to preserving the western heritage in the Valley.
Fry is well on his way to hosting a great event. County Commissioner Tom Flower has agreed to announce the rodeo, and contestants are already signing up.
For more information for youth that want to compete contact Fry by text message at 719/371-0956. The current list of events are: Calf riding, Jr. Bull Riding, Barrel Racing, Pole Bending, Goat Ribbon Pull, Mutton Busting, Dummy Roping, and Stick Horse Racing. Cash prizes will be awarded Saturday afternoon.
The first Rodeo starts at 7 p.m. Friday, May 25 and Noon on Saturday, May 26. Tickets are $5.
– Jordan Hedberg