70th Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo set for July 4-6

By Lisa Scott
Special to The PREVIEW
A traditional American rodeo is a must-see event. Join the fun as cowboys and cowgirls from various states compete for prizes and prize money at the sanctioned rodeo series known as the Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo. The rodeos are Thursday, July 4, at 2 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, July 5 and 6, at 6 p.m. at the Western Heritage Event Center arena and grounds.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo and the event is filled with a variety of exhibition events to make an entertaining affair. Each rodeo begins with a presentation of flags waving from westerners on horseback. Rodeo clowns are both entertainers and bullfighters. Their primary job is to protect the cowboy and prevent a tragedy with dangerous livestock. Between activities, the clown will entertain the crowd. Other rodeo events are interspersed with a variety of other activities like the mutton bustin’ contest and the Daisy BB gun raffle.
Mutton bustin’ is a crowd-pleasing event. Cowpokes 6 years and younger will test their strength and stamina by riding a sheep as long as they can hold on. This contest is held daily with 10 new contestants each leaving the arena with a special prize and the overall winner, the boy or girl recording the longest ride, receiving an authentic Red Ryder Rodeo belt buckle.
Tickets are available at Goodman’s Department Store and at the gate prior to the event. The cost is $10 per adult and $6 for children 12 and under on July 5 and 6. Tickets are $15 per adult and $8 for children 12 and under on July 4. A limited number of box seats are available and can be purchased by calling 264-5000.
A variety of concessions are available throughout the event including smoked meat plates, Our Savior Lutheran School manning the beer garden and selling drinks and snacks, other vendors providing lemonade, kettle corn and more.
The rodeo has a long history in Pagosa Springs and was named after Red Ryder, who was the feature cowboy character in the popular long-running western comic strip created by Stephen Slesinger and artist Fred Harman. Red, and his horse Thunder, was a tough cowboy who lived on Painted Valley Ranch in the Blanco Basin in the San Juan Mountains. He and his sidekick, Little Beaver, with his horse Papoose, dealt with the bad guys of the day. The comic strip was wildly popular and ran from 1938-1964 in 750 newspapers.
The Western Heritage Event Center, the organization that produces the rodeo, invites everyone to share in preserving the history and tradition of the American west and attending a traditional American rodeo.

This story was posted on July 4, 2019.