Elbert County Rodeo kicks its way into 2007
If you start with a great July weekend, mix in the second largest Saturday night crowd ever, add a dash of small town hospitality, and then flavor it all with grade-A roughstock, what you end up with is a good taste of the Cowboy Up in Kiowa rodeo at the Elbert County Fair.
The last weekend in July kicked off the rural Colorado fair on a positive note, with Southwick Rodeo Company and Rawhide Rodeo Company providing big action for crowds and cowboys alike.
“They just have outstanding stock,” said Dave Rook, Chairman of the 2007 Cowboy Up in Kiowa Board of Directors, about the pair of stock contractors supplying all the ornery animals. “It’s hard to pick out one thing I liked best about this year, since I’m a big fan of rodeo all the way around, but the roughstock events are my favorite to watch.”
No wonder. For a small town rodeo, the bulls and broncs provided some of the biggest bang for the buck in Colorado. It was safe to say most of the participating cowboys weren’t admiring the animals from the dirt of the arena due to a lack of skill. The beasts with bad attitudes were solely responsible. The bulls alone caught so much air they should be awarded honorary pilots’ licenses, and the broncs weren’t too shabby either.
“I think it’s a very good small town rodeo,” added Rook, who has led the Board of Directors for five years. “I believe most people would be impressed if they came out to see it.”
While rodeo is gaining in popularity throughout the country, economics always plays a big part in how it all comes together. As a result, it can be difficult for small towns and lightly populated counties to create a quality rodeo product. That’s where Elbert County and the town of Kiowa step up and make a difference.
“It costs a lot of money to put on a rodeo,” described Rook about the toughest part of the committee’s job. “There are not a lot of business to start with, and all of them are getting hit up in a small community. But our community does very well. We always find enough sponsors.”
The community supports it’s rodeo enough to put on a good show, including Saturday night fireworks, and provide added money for cowboys and cowgirls participating in each event. Each timed event purse includes an added $300 and the roughstock events receive $500 each to help lure cowboys aboard those athletic animals.
The rodeo doesn’t lack variety either, providing fans with regular cowboy fare as well as a chance to witness mixed team roping and ladies breakaway roping. Even while providing such diverse offerings, the proceedings run at a smooth pace, a benefit for every ticket-buying fan.
“I thought the time of the rodeo was real good,” said Rook of another thing he liked about 2007’s product. “We went through (the events) real quick. I thought we had a pretty good rodeo.”
All in all, the Cowboy Up In Kiowa rodeo bursts with small town hospitality, big action, added money, and a quick pace. In other words, it’s a rodeo recipe sure to leave you hungry for more.
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