Founded in 1937 by Colorado Springs legend Spencer Penrose, the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo celebrated its 78th year by changing things up in a big way.
Just like Penrose attempted to maximize every opportunity, the PPOB rodeo saw a way in 2014 to accomplish their mission in a more effective way and jumped at the chance.
Although it meant leaving the PRCA’s fold and becoming a non-sanctioned PRCA rodeo for the first time since sanctioning began, PPOB believed its first duty was not to tradition or even to the PRCA, but to the military charities it has supported since 1946.
“The (PPOB) rodeo has always been sanctioned, since sanctioning was around,” explained Gary Markle, PPOB president for 2014. “The reason we decided to (change) was really a financial decision. Our number one mission is to support local military charities. By going to an invitation only rodeo (sponsored by Cinch), we were able to increase our giving to local military charities by having the ability to expand our sponsor base.”
Another bonus out of becoming an invitational rodeo was the ability to create a mix of current competitors and those from the recent past, including a few who let their PRCA cards expire but still had the right stuff to compete.
One such cowboy was Matt Mosher from Boyero, Colo. After setting his rigging aside the last four years due to nagging concussion symptoms and family responsibilities, the Colorado bareback cowboy felt the urge to compete again and dusted off his gear to ride in the 2014 edition of PPOB.
Because of his rodeo resume and previous success in Colorado Springs, his application to compete was accepted.
It was a move that turned out well for both sides.
After tying for first place on Friday night (July 11) with Tom McFarland, Mosher moved into Saturday night’s Cinch Championship Shoot Out round to compete against seven other riders. The top two scores in each event would then qualify to move ahead into a Cinch Super Shoot Out round, with the winner of each event earning $15,000 and second place taking home $5,000.
On Saturday night, Mosher climbed aboard a nice bucker named Pinball Girl and excited the crowd with a 90 point ride, which moved him into the Super Shoot Out round.
With $15,000 on the line, the Boyero cowboy got in the chutes again and started a solid ride aboard a Harry Vold bucker named Pillow Talk, but a knee buckled on him during the ride and Mosher hit the ground early.
“That was a good horse,” said Mosher of his 90 point ride on Pinball Girl. “When they are that good, they are 90 percent of it. Your 10 percent is to hold up your end of the deal. Having a chance to get on something of that caliber makes most of the deal,” he added. “You have to give all the credit to the horses.”
Asked about why he returned after four years off to compete in this rodeo, Mosher revealed his affinity for the Colorado Springs event.
“For about a year and a half now I have felt good again,” began Mosher on the topic. “I thought, why not come back and give it a whirl when there is Colorado Springs, one of my favorite rodeos and one historically I have always done good at, right down the road?”
Pressed for details of what he likes so much about the PPOB rodeo, he didn’t have to search hard for an answer.
“Harry Vold,” replied Mosher with conviction about the well-known rodeo stock contractor with a reputation for excellent bucking horses. “I’ve always done good at Harry’s rodeos. He’s always taken good care of me. It seemed like I always had a chance at one of his rodeos.”
“I got on three tremendous horses,” added Mosher about the quality of bucking stock in 2014. “If I could load them in a trailer, like those calf ropers do, and take them with me everywhere, I don’t think they could hardly beat me,” he said with a grin. “I chose that last horse (Pillow Talk) because I wanted to win it. It is a privilege to hang my rigging on that horse, it truly is. I just wish it had gone a little better.”
“I just wish I could have kept the left one of the left side and the right one on the right side and my head off the ground,” he summed up with another smile. “It would have helped.”
After being off for four years, Mosher’s performance was not only a crowd pleaser, it also thrilled his wife.
“I was just so proud of him,” said Rose Mosher, who worked behind the scenes at the rodeo. “At the point he made the (Cinch Championship Shoot Out) round, I was just beyond proud of him.”
When his 90 point ride was brought up, her smile became even bigger.
“I know,” she said with energy. “I was flipping my lid.”
“I’m back here hugging people and going crazy,” she described with a laugh. “He is in my mind a phenomenal rider and he proved that.”
“That was very exciting,” said Kirsten Vold, the daughter of Harry Vold and the person in charge of Harry Vold Rodeo Company. “Matt is my friend (and) that was a great thing.”
When the discussion turned to the rodeo as a whole, Vold had positive things to say about her thoughts on 2014’s edition.
“It was a good event,” she began about this year’s rodeo. “I think the crowd enjoyed it. It was a fan friendly format in the fact that there was champion every night. People like to see a winner for that show. They like to see a champion and then they go home. This format is a new way to encourage new fans. We were happy to be a part of it.’
PPOB personnel and officials agreed with her assessment.
“I’m beyond pleased,” said Nikki Wall, PR director and contestant coordinator for the PPOB Rodeo. “We produced an event we can be very proud of. Our fans got what we told them they were going to get. Our contestants are happy. Our sponsors are happy. Early results from the community are positive. It was a win/win for every entity.”
“We are happy we made this decision,” summed up Markle about the rodeo’s choice to leave behind the PRCA sanctioning and take part in the Cinch Shoot Out format. “This is really paying dividends for us. The fans love it. The contestants love it. We’ve got a huge purse for them. We’re declaring victory,” he ended with a laugh. ❖