Rodeo series attracting new fans and local competitors

BOBBY GUTIERREZ PHOTO

MEEKER I Several folks attending Meeker’s summer rodeo series have told the Herald Times that they are going to the rodeo every week to support it as an opportunity for Meeker area kids and big kids to compete, to get better, for Meeker to have this weekly activity, and because they enjoy rodeos.
Meeker Mayor Regas Halandras, who himself has been one of the rodeo contestants several times, emphasizes that the series is a totally private effort which provides the community with an active, weekly event, unsupported by any tax dollars except for the use of the fairgrounds arena. He credits Bill Jordan and Boyd Richardson for keeping the facility in such good shape.
Contestants pay entry fees from which there is a weekly payout to winners. Farris Bulls, the contract rodeo producer, reports that 80 percent of each week’s fees are paid back out to the high point scorers. In order to be eligible for end-of-season prizes, contestants must participate in 10 of the 13 rodeos.
“It’s a costly effort which Tyler Farris, of Farris Bucking Bulls, and his crew out of New Castle provides,” Mayor Halandras said. Farris transports all the rough stock, not so rough stock (mutton-busting sheep, roping calves), and provides pick-up and chute men, and the announcer from Grand Junction.
Farris, 25, starts his younger bulls out at smaller rodeos like Meeker’s to get them used to the noises and environment before turning them loose on the top competitors of the Professional Bull Riding (PBR) circuit and the like. He also runs weekly rodeos in Rifle (Mondays) and
Snowmass (Wednesdays). In addition, he provides annual rodeos for other towns, college contests and high school rodeos.
There are a few commercial sponsors. For example, Ariat International, which advertises that, “As athletes, riders put their bodies to the test every day and Ariat creates high performance boots and apparel that keep up,” is a sponsor. Ariat will be giving a pair of boots to the summer season’s top winner in each event category.
Other leading commercial sponsors are local and include Moody Construction, Mountain Valley Bank and Three Crown Petroleum in addition to a couple other people and businesses. To meet costs, the rodeo depends on ticket buyers who come to watch the event. Halandras says the rodeo has had about 200 people on average while the need is two to three times that number in order to get necessary cash flow into the game. Without adequate support, Halandras is concerned Farris and company may not want to return for another season.
A special attribute of the weekly rodeo is the opportunity it provides interested Meeker area residents to compete and to be fans. A few groups of friends, be they retired ladies, fresh out of high school kids, or families, seem to love taking advantage of gathering at the event weekly. And local competitors abound. In addition to those identified with their scores above, the following locals have been noticed as competitors: Hattie and Milo Brennan, Jake Grieser, Madison Kindler, Deana and Leah Wood, Cody Stickler, Ryan and Kelsey Vroman, Neal and Kari Brennan, Rowdy Atwood, Lori Ann Klinglesmith and Lavender Castaldo. The bronc riders June 29 included athletic standouts from Meeker High School, some of whom had never ridden a bronc before, and they did well. These were Sheridan Harvey, Kasey Rosendahl, Hunter Garcia and Cash Atwood. Rosendahl rode again last week.
The following are the results from the July 13  performance: in bull riding, Kaiden Decker continues to lead, scoring a 68; junior bull rider
Caleb Gieselman scored 74; amateur bull rider Dillon Burch continues to lead; ranch bronc—JD Slagowski scored 75 while Brady Latham
scored 74; lower–ranked team roping—headers Drake Groom at 6.3 seconds, Lauren Urista at 7.9 and Paula Cooper at 8.4; and heelers
Chance Luccessi at 6.3 seconds, Janelle Urista at 7.9 seconds with T.J Toon in third; higher-ranked team roping—headers Cody Edinger made 6.13 and 6.7 seconds, Colleen Watson 6.2 seconds, with heelers Brett Watson at 6.1 and 6.2 seconds, and Zane Edinger at 6.7; breakaway roping—Kyra Corson made a time of 3.94 seconds, Deena Norell 4.5 seconds, and Ellie Anderson 4.9 seconds; ladies barrel-racing—Kelsey Tate made 17.62 seconds, Kayla Pinnt 17.84 and Andy Urista at 18.53; junior barrel-racing—Alexis Vreeman at 18.19, Katherine Edwards 19.66 and Cylee Dunsmore at 21.16; big kids’ dally ribbon roping—Cody Edinger and Lucas Montgomery at 14.91 seconds with Drake Groom and JD Slagowski at 16.1. The dirt-sled (cowhide) racing was won by Lauren Urista and Jake Edinger. Clint Chew continues to be the saddle bronc leader. Tickets to the rodeo are $10, while youth eight years old and under are free. More information about the weekly Meeker rodeo can be obtained at 970-274-9833 or on Facebook.
Nearly 600 people have either “liked” and are following this Facebook site. To sign up for an event, call 970-274- 3994 Tuesdays prior to each Thursday rodeo, 6 to 8 p.m.