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By Lisa Scott
Special to The PREVIEW
Sixty-five years of rodeo. This year marks that anniversary for the Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo held annually in Pagosa Springs. Cowboys and cowgirls from various states will compete for prizes and prize money in this multi-state sanctioned rodeo series. 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 affair. A special appearance will be made by Red Ryder each day. Red was the feature cowboy character in the popular, long-running western comic strip created by Stephen Slesinger and artist Fred Harman. Red, with 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. Each Red Ryder Rodeo begins with an impressive grand entry with flags waving from westerners on horseback. Mutton Bustin’ is always fun and full of laughs as cowpokes, 6 years old or younger, will test their strength and stamina by riding a sheep as long as they can hold on. The rodeo clown is both an entertainer and bullfighter. Their primary job is to protect the cowboy and prevent a tragedy with dangerous livestock while working the crowd during the lulls in the action. Other rodeo events are interspersed with a variety of other antics like the Mutton Bustin’ contest, Wild Cow Milking event, Daisy BB gun raffle, and the presentation of the honorary Red Ryder Award. Rodeo participants receive cash and prize awards for their daily performances, including the coveted personalized belt buckle. The overall cowboy and cowgirl awards are presented after the third and final performance and each winner receives a Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo pistol and holster sponsored by Pagosa Land Company, The Pagosa Springs SUN and KWUF Radio. 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 will be available throughout the events. More rodeo information is available by calling 264-2730.