Colorado Springs’ Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo embraces tradition | TheFencePost.com

Colorado Springs’ Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo embraces tradition

“Pikes Peak or Bust” was the motto written on signs during the mid-1800s gold rush days of Colorado. It was an all or nothing mentality describing the mad dash for riches in the mile high state and was a significant part of its history. Colorado Springs, Colo., hasn’t forgotten the region’s historic roots and it shows in every detail of today’s Pikes Peak or Bust; a rodeo that just completed its 71st year of competition July 13-16, 2011.

“One of the things that makes (our rodeo) special, is it’s just a big reach back to our heritage and it’s still going strong and alive today,” said Mike Jorgensen, President of the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Board of Directors. “Sort of the whole connection with the west, that’s been big in this Front Range and Colorado.”

The atmosphere hours before the start of rodeo backed up Jorgensen’s opinion. Western re-enactors in period correct attire mingled easily among the crowd surrounding the Norris-Penrose Event Center, while children clamored for a chance to sit on cattle, ride a pony, enter a Mutton Bustin contest or pan for gold. Spicing the day more were enticing smells from numerous authentic chuckwagons busy preparing for a later cook-off competition. According to chuckwagon cooks, the enjoyment wasn’t limited to visitors and rodeo fans.

“It’s just a fun competition to come to,” said Russ Ichins of Phoenix, Ariz., as he stirred a pot of beans in front of his Rocking RR Wagon. Decked out in old west attire, he offered his take on the venue. “We enjoy the people that compete with us and we enjoy talking to (the public). So many people are so far removed from the outdoors and the old chuckwagons and that sort of stuff, that it’s fun to explain to them what’s going on.”

Not only was the venue flavored with the west; there was also an accompanying zest of military tradition. There were live falcon mascots near the parking lot, opening ceremonies performed in armed forces style, modern battle re-enactments for entertainment, thousands of cadets filling the stands and reminders that proceeds of the rodeo would go to help local military and community charities. It all combined to show the pride Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo officials took in honoring the area’s armed services.

“You couple (our western history) with our connection with the military in Colorado Springs, it’s a big part of our economy and really our culture here,” described Jorgensen about how the community’s military tradition pairs well with rodeo’s cowboy roots. “So when you take the west and the military and you can put those together in a celebration like we have here, that’s what makes it so special. We honor the military every night. Of course, our proceeds go to support local military charities. And then everybody wants to be a cowboy,” he added with a smile. “Everybody’s got a little cowboy in their heart.”

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The ones with pure cowboy in their heart battled it out for a piece of the $200,000 plus total purse. With five performances packed into four days, numerous top-ranked competitors arrived on the scene for a chance to climb the PRCA standings.

“We have several world champions in every event, because it is a great rodeo,” offered Rodeo General Manager Brad Kreikemeier. “And they are going to fly in (and) make a special trip to come here because it is a good rodeo. We have lots of money added and the stock is great, so their opportunity to win is great.”

“It’s a great rodeo,” stated bareback cowboy Ryan Gray after winning 2010s buckle. “They add a lot of money, they bring some good horses in there, so it’s always a good rodeo to go to.” Gray returned to defend his title, but ended tied for fourth place with 84 points and a check for over $1,700.

“Colorado Springs is a real good tour rodeo,” said Seth Glause, a Wyoming cowboy who earned a second straight Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo All Around title by winning money in both the saddle bronc and bull riding events. “It’s great that our circuit has tour rodeos like that. They always do a good job putting on their rodeos and having some good stock.”

Asked if the high energy level in the stands made an impression on the competitors, Glause was quick with a response.

“Oh yeah,” he answered with enthusiasm. “You dang sure notice when everybody is having fun and happy to be there.”

Another rodeo participant happy to be there and able to offer an insider view was veteran announcer Boyd Polhamus. Polhamus announced from horseback inside the arena, interacting up close and personal with the boisterous crowd and enjoying every minute of it.

“This is a great venue,” said Polhamus after getting off his Palomino horse following Saturday’s matinee. “I think the crowds are amazingly active and wonderful.”

Asked what kind of a difference it made having 1,800 cadets in uniform jamming the stands, he shared his thoughts on the subject.

“Whenever I see those guys, I don’t think I am worthy, because I’ve never made the sacrifices they make,” began Polhamus on the topic. “I’m looking at a bunch of high character, highly intelligent individuals who have decided not to pursue Wall Street. And they could, because they have that kind of brainpower and that kind of moral/ethical code and work ethic. They’ve got all that. But they decided to serve their country,” he continued with passion. “And I’m just so immensely humbled. I tell you what, to me they represent what America was like when it was at its best.”

While the cadets represented America’s best, Vold Rodeo Company represented rodeo’s best, and the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo was proud to again have them supplying stock in Colorado Springs.

“They’ve been coming to our rodeo for well over 40 years now,” revealed Kreikemeier. “They bring in their best stock and if they don’t have enough they hire sub-contractors. They’ve got two sub-contractors and they bring in their best stock, too, and put it together so we can have the best show possible.”

Judging by sold-out performances and record setting attendance figures, the local community embraced their rodeo’s 2011 product. If it gets any better, the next time you see a “Pikes Peak or Bust” sign, it will probably be rodeo fans hoping for tickets in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“Pikes Peak or Bust” was the motto written on signs during the mid-1800s gold rush days of Colorado. It was an all or nothing mentality describing the mad dash for riches in the mile high state and was a significant part of its history. Colorado Springs, Colo., hasn’t forgotten the region’s historic roots and it shows in every detail of today’s Pikes Peak or Bust; a rodeo that just completed its 71st year of competition July 13-16, 2011.

“One of the things that makes (our rodeo) special, is it’s just a big reach back to our heritage and it’s still going strong and alive today,” said Mike Jorgensen, President of the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Board of Directors. “Sort of the whole connection with the west, that’s been big in this Front Range and Colorado.”

The atmosphere hours before the start of rodeo backed up Jorgensen’s opinion. Western re-enactors in period correct attire mingled easily among the crowd surrounding the Norris-Penrose Event Center, while children clamored for a chance to sit on cattle, ride a pony, enter a Mutton Bustin contest or pan for gold. Spicing the day more were enticing smells from numerous authentic chuckwagons busy preparing for a later cook-off competition. According to chuckwagon cooks, the enjoyment wasn’t limited to visitors and rodeo fans.

“It’s just a fun competition to come to,” said Russ Ichins of Phoenix, Ariz., as he stirred a pot of beans in front of his Rocking RR Wagon. Decked out in old west attire, he offered his take on the venue. “We enjoy the people that compete with us and we enjoy talking to (the public). So many people are so far removed from the outdoors and the old chuckwagons and that sort of stuff, that it’s fun to explain to them what’s going on.”

Not only was the venue flavored with the west; there was also an accompanying zest of military tradition. There were live falcon mascots near the parking lot, opening ceremonies performed in armed forces style, modern battle re-enactments for entertainment, thousands of cadets filling the stands and reminders that proceeds of the rodeo would go to help local military and community charities. It all combined to show the pride Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo officials took in honoring the area’s armed services.

“You couple (our western history) with our connection with the military in Colorado Springs, it’s a big part of our economy and really our culture here,” described Jorgensen about how the community’s military tradition pairs well with rodeo’s cowboy roots. “So when you take the west and the military and you can put those together in a celebration like we have here, that’s what makes it so special. We honor the military every night. Of course, our proceeds go to support local military charities. And then everybody wants to be a cowboy,” he added with a smile. “Everybody’s got a little cowboy in their heart.”

The ones with pure cowboy in their heart battled it out for a piece of the $200,000 plus total purse. With five performances packed into four days, numerous top-ranked competitors arrived on the scene for a chance to climb the PRCA standings.

“We have several world champions in every event, because it is a great rodeo,” offered Rodeo General Manager Brad Kreikemeier. “And they are going to fly in (and) make a special trip to come here because it is a good rodeo. We have lots of money added and the stock is great, so their opportunity to win is great.”

“It’s a great rodeo,” stated bareback cowboy Ryan Gray after winning 2010s buckle. “They add a lot of money, they bring some good horses in there, so it’s always a good rodeo to go to.” Gray returned to defend his title, but ended tied for fourth place with 84 points and a check for over $1,700.

“Colorado Springs is a real good tour rodeo,” said Seth Glause, a Wyoming cowboy who earned a second straight Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo All Around title by winning money in both the saddle bronc and bull riding events. “It’s great that our circuit has tour rodeos like that. They always do a good job putting on their rodeos and having some good stock.”

Asked if the high energy level in the stands made an impression on the competitors, Glause was quick with a response.

“Oh yeah,” he answered with enthusiasm. “You dang sure notice when everybody is having fun and happy to be there.”

Another rodeo participant happy to be there and able to offer an insider view was veteran announcer Boyd Polhamus. Polhamus announced from horseback inside the arena, interacting up close and personal with the boisterous crowd and enjoying every minute of it.

“This is a great venue,” said Polhamus after getting off his Palomino horse following Saturday’s matinee. “I think the crowds are amazingly active and wonderful.”

Asked what kind of a difference it made having 1,800 cadets in uniform jamming the stands, he shared his thoughts on the subject.

“Whenever I see those guys, I don’t think I am worthy, because I’ve never made the sacrifices they make,” began Polhamus on the topic. “I’m looking at a bunch of high character, highly intelligent individuals who have decided not to pursue Wall Street. And they could, because they have that kind of brainpower and that kind of moral/ethical code and work ethic. They’ve got all that. But they decided to serve their country,” he continued with passion. “And I’m just so immensely humbled. I tell you what, to me they represent what America was like when it was at its best.”

While the cadets represented America’s best, Vold Rodeo Company represented rodeo’s best, and the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo was proud to again have them supplying stock in Colorado Springs.

“They’ve been coming to our rodeo for well over 40 years now,” revealed Kreikemeier. “They bring in their best stock and if they don’t have enough they hire sub-contractors. They’ve got two sub-contractors and they bring in their best stock, too, and put it together so we can have the best show possible.”

Judging by sold-out performances and record setting attendance figures, the local community embraced their rodeo’s 2011 product. If it gets any better, the next time you see a “Pikes Peak or Bust” sign, it will probably be rodeo fans hoping for tickets in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“Pikes Peak or Bust” was the motto written on signs during the mid-1800s gold rush days of Colorado. It was an all or nothing mentality describing the mad dash for riches in the mile high state and was a significant part of its history. Colorado Springs, Colo., hasn’t forgotten the region’s historic roots and it shows in every detail of today’s Pikes Peak or Bust; a rodeo that just completed its 71st year of competition July 13-16, 2011.

“One of the things that makes (our rodeo) special, is it’s just a big reach back to our heritage and it’s still going strong and alive today,” said Mike Jorgensen, President of the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Board of Directors. “Sort of the whole connection with the west, that’s been big in this Front Range and Colorado.”

The atmosphere hours before the start of rodeo backed up Jorgensen’s opinion. Western re-enactors in period correct attire mingled easily among the crowd surrounding the Norris-Penrose Event Center, while children clamored for a chance to sit on cattle, ride a pony, enter a Mutton Bustin contest or pan for gold. Spicing the day more were enticing smells from numerous authentic chuckwagons busy preparing for a later cook-off competition. According to chuckwagon cooks, the enjoyment wasn’t limited to visitors and rodeo fans.

“It’s just a fun competition to come to,” said Russ Ichins of Phoenix, Ariz., as he stirred a pot of beans in front of his Rocking RR Wagon. Decked out in old west attire, he offered his take on the venue. “We enjoy the people that compete with us and we enjoy talking to (the public). So many people are so far removed from the outdoors and the old chuckwagons and that sort of stuff, that it’s fun to explain to them what’s going on.”

Not only was the venue flavored with the west; there was also an accompanying zest of military tradition. There were live falcon mascots near the parking lot, opening ceremonies performed in armed forces style, modern battle re-enactments for entertainment, thousands of cadets filling the stands and reminders that proceeds of the rodeo would go to help local military and community charities. It all combined to show the pride Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo officials took in honoring the area’s armed services.

“You couple (our western history) with our connection with the military in Colorado Springs, it’s a big part of our economy and really our culture here,” described Jorgensen about how the community’s military tradition pairs well with rodeo’s cowboy roots. “So when you take the west and the military and you can put those together in a celebration like we have here, that’s what makes it so special. We honor the military every night. Of course, our proceeds go to support local military charities. And then everybody wants to be a cowboy,” he added with a smile. “Everybody’s got a little cowboy in their heart.”

The ones with pure cowboy in their heart battled it out for a piece of the $200,000 plus total purse. With five performances packed into four days, numerous top-ranked competitors arrived on the scene for a chance to climb the PRCA standings.

“We have several world champions in every event, because it is a great rodeo,” offered Rodeo General Manager Brad Kreikemeier. “And they are going to fly in (and) make a special trip to come here because it is a good rodeo. We have lots of money added and the stock is great, so their opportunity to win is great.”

“It’s a great rodeo,” stated bareback cowboy Ryan Gray after winning 2010s buckle. “They add a lot of money, they bring some good horses in there, so it’s always a good rodeo to go to.” Gray returned to defend his title, but ended tied for fourth place with 84 points and a check for over $1,700.

“Colorado Springs is a real good tour rodeo,” said Seth Glause, a Wyoming cowboy who earned a second straight Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo All Around title by winning money in both the saddle bronc and bull riding events. “It’s great that our circuit has tour rodeos like that. They always do a good job putting on their rodeos and having some good stock.”

Asked if the high energy level in the stands made an impression on the competitors, Glause was quick with a response.

“Oh yeah,” he answered with enthusiasm. “You dang sure notice when everybody is having fun and happy to be there.”

Another rodeo participant happy to be there and able to offer an insider view was veteran announcer Boyd Polhamus. Polhamus announced from horseback inside the arena, interacting up close and personal with the boisterous crowd and enjoying every minute of it.

“This is a great venue,” said Polhamus after getting off his Palomino horse following Saturday’s matinee. “I think the crowds are amazingly active and wonderful.”

Asked what kind of a difference it made having 1,800 cadets in uniform jamming the stands, he shared his thoughts on the subject.

“Whenever I see those guys, I don’t think I am worthy, because I’ve never made the sacrifices they make,” began Polhamus on the topic. “I’m looking at a bunch of high character, highly intelligent individuals who have decided not to pursue Wall Street. And they could, because they have that kind of brainpower and that kind of moral/ethical code and work ethic. They’ve got all that. But they decided to serve their country,” he continued with passion. “And I’m just so immensely humbled. I tell you what, to me they represent what America was like when it was at its best.”

While the cadets represented America’s best, Vold Rodeo Company represented rodeo’s best, and the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo was proud to again have them supplying stock in Colorado Springs.

“They’ve been coming to our rodeo for well over 40 years now,” revealed Kreikemeier. “They bring in their best stock and if they don’t have enough they hire sub-contractors. They’ve got two sub-contractors and they bring in their best stock, too, and put it together so we can have the best show possible.”

Judging by sold-out performances and record setting attendance figures, the local community embraced their rodeo’s 2011 product. If it gets any better, the next time you see a “Pikes Peak or Bust” sign, it will probably be rodeo fans hoping for tickets in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“Pikes Peak or Bust” was the motto written on signs during the mid-1800s gold rush days of Colorado. It was an all or nothing mentality describing the mad dash for riches in the mile high state and was a significant part of its history. Colorado Springs, Colo., hasn’t forgotten the region’s historic roots and it shows in every detail of today’s Pikes Peak or Bust; a rodeo that just completed its 71st year of competition July 13-16, 2011.

“One of the things that makes (our rodeo) special, is it’s just a big reach back to our heritage and it’s still going strong and alive today,” said Mike Jorgensen, President of the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Board of Directors. “Sort of the whole connection with the west, that’s been big in this Front Range and Colorado.”

The atmosphere hours before the start of rodeo backed up Jorgensen’s opinion. Western re-enactors in period correct attire mingled easily among the crowd surrounding the Norris-Penrose Event Center, while children clamored for a chance to sit on cattle, ride a pony, enter a Mutton Bustin contest or pan for gold. Spicing the day more were enticing smells from numerous authentic chuckwagons busy preparing for a later cook-off competition. According to chuckwagon cooks, the enjoyment wasn’t limited to visitors and rodeo fans.

“It’s just a fun competition to come to,” said Russ Ichins of Phoenix, Ariz., as he stirred a pot of beans in front of his Rocking RR Wagon. Decked out in old west attire, he offered his take on the venue. “We enjoy the people that compete with us and we enjoy talking to (the public). So many people are so far removed from the outdoors and the old chuckwagons and that sort of stuff, that it’s fun to explain to them what’s going on.”

Not only was the venue flavored with the west; there was also an accompanying zest of military tradition. There were live falcon mascots near the parking lot, opening ceremonies performed in armed forces style, modern battle re-enactments for entertainment, thousands of cadets filling the stands and reminders that proceeds of the rodeo would go to help local military and community charities. It all combined to show the pride Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo officials took in honoring the area’s armed services.

“You couple (our western history) with our connection with the military in Colorado Springs, it’s a big part of our economy and really our culture here,” described Jorgensen about how the community’s military tradition pairs well with rodeo’s cowboy roots. “So when you take the west and the military and you can put those together in a celebration like we have here, that’s what makes it so special. We honor the military every night. Of course, our proceeds go to support local military charities. And then everybody wants to be a cowboy,” he added with a smile. “Everybody’s got a little cowboy in their heart.”

The ones with pure cowboy in their heart battled it out for a piece of the $200,000 plus total purse. With five performances packed into four days, numerous top-ranked competitors arrived on the scene for a chance to climb the PRCA standings.

“We have several world champions in every event, because it is a great rodeo,” offered Rodeo General Manager Brad Kreikemeier. “And they are going to fly in (and) make a special trip to come here because it is a good rodeo. We have lots of money added and the stock is great, so their opportunity to win is great.”

“It’s a great rodeo,” stated bareback cowboy Ryan Gray after winning 2010s buckle. “They add a lot of money, they bring some good horses in there, so it’s always a good rodeo to go to.” Gray returned to defend his title, but ended tied for fourth place with 84 points and a check for over $1,700.

“Colorado Springs is a real good tour rodeo,” said Seth Glause, a Wyoming cowboy who earned a second straight Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo All Around title by winning money in both the saddle bronc and bull riding events. “It’s great that our circuit has tour rodeos like that. They always do a good job putting on their rodeos and having some good stock.”

Asked if the high energy level in the stands made an impression on the competitors, Glause was quick with a response.

“Oh yeah,” he answered with enthusiasm. “You dang sure notice when everybody is having fun and happy to be there.”

Another rodeo participant happy to be there and able to offer an insider view was veteran announcer Boyd Polhamus. Polhamus announced from horseback inside the arena, interacting up close and personal with the boisterous crowd and enjoying every minute of it.

“This is a great venue,” said Polhamus after getting off his Palomino horse following Saturday’s matinee. “I think the crowds are amazingly active and wonderful.”

Asked what kind of a difference it made having 1,800 cadets in uniform jamming the stands, he shared his thoughts on the subject.

“Whenever I see those guys, I don’t think I am worthy, because I’ve never made the sacrifices they make,” began Polhamus on the topic. “I’m looking at a bunch of high character, highly intelligent individuals who have decided not to pursue Wall Street. And they could, because they have that kind of brainpower and that kind of moral/ethical code and work ethic. They’ve got all that. But they decided to serve their country,” he continued with passion. “And I’m just so immensely humbled. I tell you what, to me they represent what America was like when it was at its best.”

While the cadets represented America’s best, Vold Rodeo Company represented rodeo’s best, and the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo was proud to again have them supplying stock in Colorado Springs.

“They’ve been coming to our rodeo for well over 40 years now,” revealed Kreikemeier. “They bring in their best stock and if they don’t have enough they hire sub-contractors. They’ve got two sub-contractors and they bring in their best stock, too, and put it together so we can have the best show possible.”

Judging by sold-out performances and record setting attendance figures, the local community embraced their rodeo’s 2011 product. If it gets any better, the next time you see a “Pikes Peak or Bust” sign, it will probably be rodeo fans hoping for tickets in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“Pikes Peak or Bust” was the motto written on signs during the mid-1800s gold rush days of Colorado. It was an all or nothing mentality describing the mad dash for riches in the mile high state and was a significant part of its history. Colorado Springs, Colo., hasn’t forgotten the region’s historic roots and it shows in every detail of today’s Pikes Peak or Bust; a rodeo that just completed its 71st year of competition July 13-16, 2011.

“One of the things that makes (our rodeo) special, is it’s just a big reach back to our heritage and it’s still going strong and alive today,” said Mike Jorgensen, President of the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Board of Directors. “Sort of the whole connection with the west, that’s been big in this Front Range and Colorado.”

The atmosphere hours before the start of rodeo backed up Jorgensen’s opinion. Western re-enactors in period correct attire mingled easily among the crowd surrounding the Norris-Penrose Event Center, while children clamored for a chance to sit on cattle, ride a pony, enter a Mutton Bustin contest or pan for gold. Spicing the day more were enticing smells from numerous authentic chuckwagons busy preparing for a later cook-off competition. According to chuckwagon cooks, the enjoyment wasn’t limited to visitors and rodeo fans.

“It’s just a fun competition to come to,” said Russ Ichins of Phoenix, Ariz., as he stirred a pot of beans in front of his Rocking RR Wagon. Decked out in old west attire, he offered his take on the venue. “We enjoy the people that compete with us and we enjoy talking to (the public). So many people are so far removed from the outdoors and the old chuckwagons and that sort of stuff, that it’s fun to explain to them what’s going on.”

Not only was the venue flavored with the west; there was also an accompanying zest of military tradition. There were live falcon mascots near the parking lot, opening ceremonies performed in armed forces style, modern battle re-enactments for entertainment, thousands of cadets filling the stands and reminders that proceeds of the rodeo would go to help local military and community charities. It all combined to show the pride Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo officials took in honoring the area’s armed services.

“You couple (our western history) with our connection with the military in Colorado Springs, it’s a big part of our economy and really our culture here,” described Jorgensen about how the community’s military tradition pairs well with rodeo’s cowboy roots. “So when you take the west and the military and you can put those together in a celebration like we have here, that’s what makes it so special. We honor the military every night. Of course, our proceeds go to support local military charities. And then everybody wants to be a cowboy,” he added with a smile. “Everybody’s got a little cowboy in their heart.”

The ones with pure cowboy in their heart battled it out for a piece of the $200,000 plus total purse. With five performances packed into four days, numerous top-ranked competitors arrived on the scene for a chance to climb the PRCA standings.

“We have several world champions in every event, because it is a great rodeo,” offered Rodeo General Manager Brad Kreikemeier. “And they are going to fly in (and) make a special trip to come here because it is a good rodeo. We have lots of money added and the stock is great, so their opportunity to win is great.”

“It’s a great rodeo,” stated bareback cowboy Ryan Gray after winning 2010s buckle. “They add a lot of money, they bring some good horses in there, so it’s always a good rodeo to go to.” Gray returned to defend his title, but ended tied for fourth place with 84 points and a check for over $1,700.

“Colorado Springs is a real good tour rodeo,” said Seth Glause, a Wyoming cowboy who earned a second straight Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo All Around title by winning money in both the saddle bronc and bull riding events. “It’s great that our circuit has tour rodeos like that. They always do a good job putting on their rodeos and having some good stock.”

Asked if the high energy level in the stands made an impression on the competitors, Glause was quick with a response.

“Oh yeah,” he answered with enthusiasm. “You dang sure notice when everybody is having fun and happy to be there.”

Another rodeo participant happy to be there and able to offer an insider view was veteran announcer Boyd Polhamus. Polhamus announced from horseback inside the arena, interacting up close and personal with the boisterous crowd and enjoying every minute of it.

“This is a great venue,” said Polhamus after getting off his Palomino horse following Saturday’s matinee. “I think the crowds are amazingly active and wonderful.”

Asked what kind of a difference it made having 1,800 cadets in uniform jamming the stands, he shared his thoughts on the subject.

“Whenever I see those guys, I don’t think I am worthy, because I’ve never made the sacrifices they make,” began Polhamus on the topic. “I’m looking at a bunch of high character, highly intelligent individuals who have decided not to pursue Wall Street. And they could, because they have that kind of brainpower and that kind of moral/ethical code and work ethic. They’ve got all that. But they decided to serve their country,” he continued with passion. “And I’m just so immensely humbled. I tell you what, to me they represent what America was like when it was at its best.”

While the cadets represented America’s best, Vold Rodeo Company represented rodeo’s best, and the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo was proud to again have them supplying stock in Colorado Springs.

“They’ve been coming to our rodeo for well over 40 years now,” revealed Kreikemeier. “They bring in their best stock and if they don’t have enough they hire sub-contractors. They’ve got two sub-contractors and they bring in their best stock, too, and put it together so we can have the best show possible.”

Judging by sold-out performances and record setting attendance figures, the local community embraced their rodeo’s 2011 product. If it gets any better, the next time you see a “Pikes Peak or Bust” sign, it will probably be rodeo fans hoping for tickets in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“Pikes Peak or Bust” was the motto written on signs during the mid-1800s gold rush days of Colorado. It was an all or nothing mentality describing the mad dash for riches in the mile high state and was a significant part of its history. Colorado Springs, Colo., hasn’t forgotten the region’s historic roots and it shows in every detail of today’s Pikes Peak or Bust; a rodeo that just completed its 71st year of competition July 13-16, 2011.

“One of the things that makes (our rodeo) special, is it’s just a big reach back to our heritage and it’s still going strong and alive today,” said Mike Jorgensen, President of the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Board of Directors. “Sort of the whole connection with the west, that’s been big in this Front Range and Colorado.”

The atmosphere hours before the start of rodeo backed up Jorgensen’s opinion. Western re-enactors in period correct attire mingled easily among the crowd surrounding the Norris-Penrose Event Center, while children clamored for a chance to sit on cattle, ride a pony, enter a Mutton Bustin contest or pan for gold. Spicing the day more were enticing smells from numerous authentic chuckwagons busy preparing for a later cook-off competition. According to chuckwagon cooks, the enjoyment wasn’t limited to visitors and rodeo fans.

“It’s just a fun competition to come to,” said Russ Ichins of Phoenix, Ariz., as he stirred a pot of beans in front of his Rocking RR Wagon. Decked out in old west attire, he offered his take on the venue. “We enjoy the people that compete with us and we enjoy talking to (the public). So many people are so far removed from the outdoors and the old chuckwagons and that sort of stuff, that it’s fun to explain to them what’s going on.”

Not only was the venue flavored with the west; there was also an accompanying zest of military tradition. There were live falcon mascots near the parking lot, opening ceremonies performed in armed forces style, modern battle re-enactments for entertainment, thousands of cadets filling the stands and reminders that proceeds of the rodeo would go to help local military and community charities. It all combined to show the pride Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo officials took in honoring the area’s armed services.

“You couple (our western history) with our connection with the military in Colorado Springs, it’s a big part of our economy and really our culture here,” described Jorgensen about how the community’s military tradition pairs well with rodeo’s cowboy roots. “So when you take the west and the military and you can put those together in a celebration like we have here, that’s what makes it so special. We honor the military every night. Of course, our proceeds go to support local military charities. And then everybody wants to be a cowboy,” he added with a smile. “Everybody’s got a little cowboy in their heart.”

The ones with pure cowboy in their heart battled it out for a piece of the $200,000 plus total purse. With five performances packed into four days, numerous top-ranked competitors arrived on the scene for a chance to climb the PRCA standings.

“We have several world champions in every event, because it is a great rodeo,” offered Rodeo General Manager Brad Kreikemeier. “And they are going to fly in (and) make a special trip to come here because it is a good rodeo. We have lots of money added and the stock is great, so their opportunity to win is great.”

“It’s a great rodeo,” stated bareback cowboy Ryan Gray after winning 2010s buckle. “They add a lot of money, they bring some good horses in there, so it’s always a good rodeo to go to.” Gray returned to defend his title, but ended tied for fourth place with 84 points and a check for over $1,700.

“Colorado Springs is a real good tour rodeo,” said Seth Glause, a Wyoming cowboy who earned a second straight Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo All Around title by winning money in both the saddle bronc and bull riding events. “It’s great that our circuit has tour rodeos like that. They always do a good job putting on their rodeos and having some good stock.”

Asked if the high energy level in the stands made an impression on the competitors, Glause was quick with a response.

“Oh yeah,” he answered with enthusiasm. “You dang sure notice when everybody is having fun and happy to be there.”

Another rodeo participant happy to be there and able to offer an insider view was veteran announcer Boyd Polhamus. Polhamus announced from horseback inside the arena, interacting up close and personal with the boisterous crowd and enjoying every minute of it.

“This is a great venue,” said Polhamus after getting off his Palomino horse following Saturday’s matinee. “I think the crowds are amazingly active and wonderful.”

Asked what kind of a difference it made having 1,800 cadets in uniform jamming the stands, he shared his thoughts on the subject.

“Whenever I see those guys, I don’t think I am worthy, because I’ve never made the sacrifices they make,” began Polhamus on the topic. “I’m looking at a bunch of high character, highly intelligent individuals who have decided not to pursue Wall Street. And they could, because they have that kind of brainpower and that kind of moral/ethical code and work ethic. They’ve got all that. But they decided to serve their country,” he continued with passion. “And I’m just so immensely humbled. I tell you what, to me they represent what America was like when it was at its best.”

While the cadets represented America’s best, Vold Rodeo Company represented rodeo’s best, and the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo was proud to again have them supplying stock in Colorado Springs.

“They’ve been coming to our rodeo for well over 40 years now,” revealed Kreikemeier. “They bring in their best stock and if they don’t have enough they hire sub-contractors. They’ve got two sub-contractors and they bring in their best stock, too, and put it together so we can have the best show possible.”

Judging by sold-out performances and record setting attendance figures, the local community embraced their rodeo’s 2011 product. If it gets any better, the next time you see a “Pikes Peak or Bust” sign, it will probably be rodeo fans hoping for tickets in Colorado Springs, Colo.