Championship Action at the Greeley Stampede | TheFencePost.com

Championship Action at the Greeley Stampede

by Lincoln Rogers,
Parker, Colo.

The official schedule said fireworks were slated following the evening’s concert at the big Greeley Stampede’s Fourth of July celebration. It looked like the contestants in the afternoon’s rodeo championship round didn’t get the memo, since it would be a surprise if any explosive action was left after they were finished for the day.

Friday’s national holiday burned bright, the blazing temperatures foretelling even hotter action on tap at the “World’s Largest Fourth of July Rodeo.” Milling around behind the chutes before the start of the contest was like sneaking into a who’s-who meeting of top names inside the cowboy sport. Warming up by the rails was the Saddle Bronc chapter, including Cody Wright, Samuel Kelts, and the veteran Denny Hay. Hay has seen a couple of decades inside the game, and the former Canadian champion and multiple NFR qualifier picks and chooses where he wants to compete at this stage of his career. The big money venue at Greeley is high on his list.

“I just pick some of my favorites I want to come to this year and Greeley is one,” said Hay before the start of action. “I’ve always liked this rodeo. I came here the first time, I guess, in 1989 and I think the chutes were at the other end and there was no big cement thing, so yeah, this rodeo has really changed over the years,” he recalled with a smile. “They just keep getting better and better. You’ve got to hand it to the committees who want to improve their rodeos every year. It’s good to see.”

Another reason Hay likes Greeley so much is the style of broncs he gets to match up against year after year.

“I like Bennie Butler’s horses,” Hay explained about the animals the longtime stock contractor brings to the table. “I’ve always done good around his horses. They’re kind of bigger and stronger, kind of like Canadian horses. I just seem to do better on them and that’s kind of why I picked him.”

There were more cowboys meeting behind the scenes, including the bareback riders preparing to go first before the big crowd. With NFR regulars like Ryan Gray, Royce Ford, and Cimmaron Gerke waiting to go, fans in the stands anticipated the start of action. Truth be told, the cowboys were itching to see how things played out at the large Greeley event, as well.

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“The July Fourth (timeframe) has usually always been a pretty good week for me,” began successful local cowboy, Cimmaron Gerke, regarding his thoughts on making the Stampede’s championship round. “Being here in Greeley, winning the long round really boosted me up there (in the standings), and I’ve got a pretty good horse today I think, so hopefully maybe we can win this again. I won it in 2004. So yeah, I’d like to win it again, it’s been a pretty good rodeo every time I’ve been here.”

Gerke also enjoyed the feeling of competing in his back yard.

“It is nice to be in the Final round here,” he said on the topic. “My dad’s here, I got a bunch of fans, friends, and family up in the stands. I don’t get a whole lot of rodeos close to home, so it’s good. I like it. I’ve been riding in this arena since I was 12 years old,” he revealed with a smile. “So yeah, it’s kind of hometown.”

The official schedule said fireworks were slated following the evening’s concert at the big Greeley Stampede’s Fourth of July celebration. It looked like the contestants in the afternoon’s rodeo championship round didn’t get the memo, since it would be a surprise if any explosive action was left after they were finished for the day.

Friday’s national holiday burned bright, the blazing temperatures foretelling even hotter action on tap at the “World’s Largest Fourth of July Rodeo.” Milling around behind the chutes before the start of the contest was like sneaking into a who’s-who meeting of top names inside the cowboy sport. Warming up by the rails was the Saddle Bronc chapter, including Cody Wright, Samuel Kelts, and the veteran Denny Hay. Hay has seen a couple of decades inside the game, and the former Canadian champion and multiple NFR qualifier picks and chooses where he wants to compete at this stage of his career. The big money venue at Greeley is high on his list.

“I just pick some of my favorites I want to come to this year and Greeley is one,” said Hay before the start of action. “I’ve always liked this rodeo. I came here the first time, I guess, in 1989 and I think the chutes were at the other end and there was no big cement thing, so yeah, this rodeo has really changed over the years,” he recalled with a smile. “They just keep getting better and better. You’ve got to hand it to the committees who want to improve their rodeos every year. It’s good to see.”

Another reason Hay likes Greeley so much is the style of broncs he gets to match up against year after year.

“I like Bennie Butler’s horses,” Hay explained about the animals the longtime stock contractor brings to the table. “I’ve always done good around his horses. They’re kind of bigger and stronger, kind of like Canadian horses. I just seem to do better on them and that’s kind of why I picked him.”

There were more cowboys meeting behind the scenes, including the bareback riders preparing to go first before the big crowd. With NFR regulars like Ryan Gray, Royce Ford, and Cimmaron Gerke waiting to go, fans in the stands anticipated the start of action. Truth be told, the cowboys were itching to see how things played out at the large Greeley event, as well.

“The July Fourth (timeframe) has usually always been a pretty good week for me,” began successful local cowboy, Cimmaron Gerke, regarding his thoughts on making the Stampede’s championship round. “Being here in Greeley, winning the long round really boosted me up there (in the standings), and I’ve got a pretty good horse today I think, so hopefully maybe we can win this again. I won it in 2004. So yeah, I’d like to win it again, it’s been a pretty good rodeo every time I’ve been here.”

Gerke also enjoyed the feeling of competing in his back yard.

“It is nice to be in the Final round here,” he said on the topic. “My dad’s here, I got a bunch of fans, friends, and family up in the stands. I don’t get a whole lot of rodeos close to home, so it’s good. I like it. I’ve been riding in this arena since I was 12 years old,” he revealed with a smile. “So yeah, it’s kind of hometown.”

The official schedule said fireworks were slated following the evening’s concert at the big Greeley Stampede’s Fourth of July celebration. It looked like the contestants in the afternoon’s rodeo championship round didn’t get the memo, since it would be a surprise if any explosive action was left after they were finished for the day.

Friday’s national holiday burned bright, the blazing temperatures foretelling even hotter action on tap at the “World’s Largest Fourth of July Rodeo.” Milling around behind the chutes before the start of the contest was like sneaking into a who’s-who meeting of top names inside the cowboy sport. Warming up by the rails was the Saddle Bronc chapter, including Cody Wright, Samuel Kelts, and the veteran Denny Hay. Hay has seen a couple of decades inside the game, and the former Canadian champion and multiple NFR qualifier picks and chooses where he wants to compete at this stage of his career. The big money venue at Greeley is high on his list.

“I just pick some of my favorites I want to come to this year and Greeley is one,” said Hay before the start of action. “I’ve always liked this rodeo. I came here the first time, I guess, in 1989 and I think the chutes were at the other end and there was no big cement thing, so yeah, this rodeo has really changed over the years,” he recalled with a smile. “They just keep getting better and better. You’ve got to hand it to the committees who want to improve their rodeos every year. It’s good to see.”

Another reason Hay likes Greeley so much is the style of broncs he gets to match up against year after year.

“I like Bennie Butler’s horses,” Hay explained about the animals the longtime stock contractor brings to the table. “I’ve always done good around his horses. They’re kind of bigger and stronger, kind of like Canadian horses. I just seem to do better on them and that’s kind of why I picked him.”

There were more cowboys meeting behind the scenes, including the bareback riders preparing to go first before the big crowd. With NFR regulars like Ryan Gray, Royce Ford, and Cimmaron Gerke waiting to go, fans in the stands anticipated the start of action. Truth be told, the cowboys were itching to see how things played out at the large Greeley event, as well.

“The July Fourth (timeframe) has usually always been a pretty good week for me,” began successful local cowboy, Cimmaron Gerke, regarding his thoughts on making the Stampede’s championship round. “Being here in Greeley, winning the long round really boosted me up there (in the standings), and I’ve got a pretty good horse today I think, so hopefully maybe we can win this again. I won it in 2004. So yeah, I’d like to win it again, it’s been a pretty good rodeo every time I’ve been here.”

Gerke also enjoyed the feeling of competing in his back yard.

“It is nice to be in the Final round here,” he said on the topic. “My dad’s here, I got a bunch of fans, friends, and family up in the stands. I don’t get a whole lot of rodeos close to home, so it’s good. I like it. I’ve been riding in this arena since I was 12 years old,” he revealed with a smile. “So yeah, it’s kind of hometown.”