A pair of rodeos keeps organizers and volunteers busy on Saturday | TheFencePost.com

A pair of rodeos keeps organizers and volunteers busy on Saturday

Story and photos by Lincoln Rogers
for The Fence Post
The Elizabeth Stampede board of directors are in charge of the award winning rodeo and help guide its success every year, along with the 250-plus volunteers. Pictured, left to right, are Allison Almquist, Buddy Cox, Kathy Sweigart, Kevin Whitacre, Jace Glick, Traci McClain, Ron Howard, Don Martin and Joanne Hoefer

2019 Elizabeth Stampede Rodeo Results:

Bareback: Tanner Aus, 84 points on Summit Pro Rodeo’s Payday, $2,301

Steer Wrestling: Cody Pratt, 4.9 seconds, $1,390

Team roping: J.B. James Jr/Brock Hanson, 5.2 seconds, $1,963 each

Saddle bronc riding: Tanner Butner, 81 points on Summit Pro Rodeo’s Dark Ghost, $1,508

Tie-down roping: Trevor Thiel, 10.3 seconds, $1,308

Barrel racing: (tie) Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi / Amy Jo Reisdorfer, 16.13 seconds, $1,641 each

Bull riding: Lon Danley, 86.5 points on Summit Pro Rodeo’s Jade, $1,745

Total payout: $52,886

The award-winning Elizabeth Stampede Rodeo in Elizabeth, Colo., has over 250 volunteers who help put the rodeo together each year, and they need every one of them to make sure both performances Saturday go off without a hitch.

Starting at 6:30 a.m., volunteers begin helping the stock contractor (Summit Pro Rodeo) get the animals ready. By the time the Saturday afternoon and Saturday night rodeos are complete and everything is wrapped up behind the scenes, the clock will read somewhere in the neighborhood of 10:30 p.m.

“Saturday is a tough one to do,” said Jace Glick, president of the Elizabeth Stampede Rodeo. Glick took time during this year’s Saturday schedule crush to talk about their rodeo. “But Saturday is always our push day. It is the toughest day. When we get through this one, we always let our hair down.”

With hundreds of people lending a hand behind the scenes, the punishing schedule is made easier by their dedication and cooperation.

“Our volunteers are amazing,” said Traci McClain, vice president of the Elizabeth Stampede Rodeo. “Everything works like clockwork. And once we kick it off (on Friday night), I really don’t have a job. I just wander around and make sure everything is going well. Once in a while we will see a little glitch, but it is fixed before you know it. Everyone just steps up.”

“Two rodeos makes for a really long day and it is a lot of hours, but it is really neat to see how everybody knows what to do,” said six-year volunteer Mikah Wysocki as she took care of details behind the scenes on Saturday afternoon. Wysocki was on the production committee and was helping run all the timed events, along with helping to oversee the barrel racing. “They just go right to their jobs and you never have to question if something is going to get done, because it is probably already taken care of. The way everybody works, it is a well-oiled machine.”

The professionals working behind the scenes corroborated McClain’s and Wysocki’s sentiment, along with adding some praise for the rodeo’s board.

“It’s a great committee,” said stock contractor JD Hamaker of Summit Pro Rodeo. “They get us lots of help. Anything we need, they’ve got people to get it for us.”

BEHIND THE SCENES

The committee and volunteers are not only helping produce the rodeo performances, they are also busy behind the scenes making sure organizers, other volunteers, and contestants are looked after. It is a major factor in why the small town rodeo has won so many awards, and how it continues to attract top names in the sport.

“I have been to this rodeo every single year I have been a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association except one, and that was the year I hurt my neck and I wasn’t even competing,” said Colorado bareback cowboy Casey Colletti after riding for 80.5 points Saturday afternoon.

Colletti is a three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier and has competed in big and small venues throughout the country, but Elizabeth has a special hold on him.

“The committee, the rodeo, the stock, the hospitality, and the fans — I just love it.”

Colletti wasn’t alone in his opinion. Veteran saddle bronc rider Cody Martin, a two-time NFR qualifier, also praised the army of volunteers taking care of the action inside the arena and the needs of the contestants outside of it.

“A lot of rodeos don’t really have the hospitality that is right here,” Martin said. “It is such a great rodeo to come to for the food and drinks and the hospitality overall is really great. And the Justin Sports Medicine team is here, so if we are banged up a little bit, especially at my age, it is always nice having them around. It is an overall great rodeo. They just kind of go above and beyond and it makes a really good stop throughout the year. We look forward to this every year, to come back, and we enjoy being here.”

Between getting to the arena in the early morning, running a pair of rodeos in front of sold out crowds, taking part in meetings throughout the day, and making sure the grounds are in good shape before leaving after the sun goes down, the dedication of volunteers in Elizabeth comes from a bond they form from pulling in the same direction.

“The only reason 250 volunteers return year after year and work their tails off, is they enjoy it and we are a family,” McClain said.

“This place is just unbelievable,” said Wysocki in the same vein. “You don’t know a stranger here and everybody is family. This is the most welcoming place I have ever been.”

The family feeling helps generate an atmosphere that keeps the stands full for every performance.

“This is a great rodeo, that way,” Hamaker said. “There are sell-out crowds at most all the perfs and the crowd is real excited and noisy and vocal. It seems like it is contagious. Our goal is to put on an entertaining product and if the crowd is enjoying it then we know we are doing our job.”

“This is what we want,” said Glick about the nearly 5,000 people pouring through the gates on Saturday. “We want to entertain people who have never seen this and introduce them to our way of life.”

The numbers don’t lie. Although the small town of Elizabeth has a population of just 1,400 people, all four rodeo performances over the three-day weekend fill the 2,166-seat grandstands to near capacity or sold out and overflowing with a standing room only crowd. That is a big weekend in anyone’s book. ❖

— Rogers is a freelance writer and photographer located east of Parker, Colo. He can be reached at lincoln@lincolnrogers.com or you can find him on Facebook at Official Lincoln Rogers Writing & Photography Page.