Organizers throw ranch rodeo in Hugo ‘for the cowboys’
Fifteen years ago, Tina Waite was asked if she would be interested in putting on a ranch rodeo in Hugo, Colo. The Waite family already competed in ranch rodeos, since Tina’s husband, Daryl Waite, manages the large Withers Ranch in Hugo.
So in the small town, they started the Colorado Championship Ranch Rodeo — the first ranch rodeo sanctioned by the Working Ranch Cowboys Association in Colorado — and the event is still going strong.
“Every year, our crowd gets better and bigger,” Tina said.
Tina now serves as the secretary of the Hugo rodeo committee and makes sure all loose ends come together. She’s also the secretary of the ranch rodeo held at The Ranch in Loveland, Colo.
Dedication by the entire committee is critical to the success of any rodeo, but it is especially important in small rodeos where the number of members on the committee is limited. The Hugo rodeo committee has always made showcasing the cowboy way of life on of its primary functions.
Randy Lewis has been a rodeo announcer for more than twenty years. He announces seven Working Ranch Cowboys Association ranch rodeos and is the co-announcer of the association’s world championships in Amarillo, Texas. For him, the family aspect of ranch rodeo is most important.
“I have gotten to know so many of these families and watched the kids grow up,” Lewis said. “You see kids that started out just playing in the sand while their parents were competing, and now those kids have grown up and are competing on their own. You see the development and the respect and the manners that these kids have and you have to be impressed. I think it is a way of life that is quickly disappearing and it’s great to be a part of it.”
Because of its location on the Colorado grasslands, the Colorado Championship Ranch Rodeo is able to draw some of the best ranch rodeo teams in the country. The Sandhill Cattle Company, who is a three-time World Champion, won the 2016 Colorado Championship Ranch Rodeo.
Fourteen ranch teams competed in, Hugo and nine of those have previously competed at the World Championship Ranch Rodeo in Texas, including three from Colorado.
The only way that a ranch rodeo team can punch their ticket to the World Championship Finals in Amarillo is to win a sanctioned Working Ranch Cowboys Association ranch rodeo.
Besides the ranch rodeo itself, the event in Hugo offers other attractions, including a Western trade show, ranch horse show, bronc riding competition and a chuckwagon cook-off.
Waite said hosting the ranch rodeo and showcasing the ranching way of life is a point of pride for the event organizers and rodeo committee.
“We take great pride in representing the ranchers around the area and representing the cowboys,” Waite said. “That’s what we do it for really. We used to do it for the crowd, but now we do it for the cowboys.” ❖