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MEEKER I A rodeo was the reason cowboys gathered in Meeker to celebrate Independence Day in 1885 on the town’s square. Now, 131 years later, rodeos are still a big draw, including the Meeker Ranch Rodeo, where local cowboys compete in five events for bragging rights as well as the prestigious Range Call Ranch Rodeo belt buckles.
Fourteen teams gathered and competed in the recently rebuilt arena at the Rio Blanco County Fairgrounds, and a new team won the buckles and the bragging rights.
“We were second the last two years,” said Hallie Blunt, who along with her brother, Coley Turner, Aaron Webster and J.C. Chintala won Colorado’s oldest annual rodeo.
Blunt and her team would not be denied this year as they won two events and gave second place to Joe Wood, T.J. Toon, Bill Plummer and Neil Call.
Blunt’s team won the wild cow milking competition and the final event, the Rawhide Race, in which one team member lays on a rubber mat and is pulled by a teammate on horseback to one end of the arena, around a barrel and down the home stretch. The Rawhide Race is arguably the most entertaining event to watch, and it did not disappoint this year. Blunt wore a motorcycle helmet as her brother Coley pulled her across the finish line.
Jared and Josh Wood, along with Neil Call and Nick Camiletti, won the team doctoring event, while Neil Brennan, Lane Anderson, Rowdy and Kash Atwood finished second.
Joe Wood’s team won the team penning event, giving Dean Vanwinkle, Clay Adams and Cody and Scott Flores second.
The husband and wife team of Ryan and Kelsey Vroman, along with Neil and Kari Brennan, won the team branding event and Vanwinkle’s team also finished second in this event.
The Trailer Loading event was used to break a tie between Vroman’s team and Jared Wood’s team, and the Vromans loaded a steer faster than the Woods team for third place.