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By Lisa Scott
Special to The PREVIEW
Sixty-five years. The Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo began in Pagosa Springs in 1949 and has been a town and rodeo tradition ever since. The rodeo was named for the famous comic strip character Red Ryder, who was drawn by Pagosa Springs resident Fred Harman Jr. The comic strip was wildly popular and ran from 1938-1964 in 750 newspapers.
Red was a cowboy hero and a crime fighter of the west, accompanied by his sidekick Little Beaver, a young Navajo Indian boy. The pair had trusty steeds named Thunder and Papoose, respectively.
A local talent and resident cowboy has agreed to portray Red Ryder during each rodeo this year. Come experience and have your photograph taken with the real-life character. This local young man exhibits all the characteristics of the traditional cowboy — loves the land, the ranch and the plains, herds cattle, has guns and rides horses. He’s modest and kind and his determination always shows him giving it all he’s got. Come meet our local Red Ryder.
The rodeos are Friday, July 4, at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 5, at 7 p.m.; and Sunday, July 6, at 2 p.m., presented at the Western Heritage Event Center arena and grounds. Tickets are available at Goodman’s Department Store, Wyndham Activities Center and at the gate prior to the event. The cost is $10 per adult and $6 for children 12 and under. A limited number of box seats are available and can be purchased by calling 264-5000. A variety of concessions are available throughout the events.
Each daily performance begins with an impressive grand entry with flags waving from westerners on horseback. Rodeo events are interspersed with a variety of other acts such as the Mutton Bustin’ contest, wild cow milking event, Daisy BB gun raffle, rodeo clown and the presentation of the honorary Red Ryder award.
A traditional American rodeo is a must-see event. While cowboys and cowgirls from various states compete for prizes and prize money in this sanctioned rodeo series, the event is also filled with a variety of exhibition events to make an entertaining event.