JEFFERSON COUTY, Colo. (CBS4) – You may notice a lot more spurs and shiny buckles in the metro area this weekend.
Hundreds of young cowboys and cowgirls are in Jefferson County for the Jefferson County High School Rodeo.
“We barrel race, we rope, we’ve got bull riding and bronc riding,” Dalley Gibson, the 17-year-old Rodeo Queen said. “We’ve got a lot of stuff going on.”
The rodeo athletes — along with their horses, goats, and steer — come from every corner of Colorado and almost every town in between. Organizers said participants travel from roughly 100 different towns for the rodeo.
“I come from La Junta and we have a very different culture compared to what is maybe in Rifle or Montrose,” Gibson said of competing against other Colorado rodeo athletes.
The Jefferson County Fairgrounds are hosting the Colorado High School Rodeo Association this weekend. Dalton Gray, 16, of Littleton competes in team roping. He’s hopeful people will come watch the competition to see what rodeo is really all about.
“People think all you do is twirl a rope and have a horse under you, but you’ve got to control the beast,” Gray told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “I think it’s underestimated the hard work that goes into it.”
Dirt Terrell is the president of the Colorado High School Rodeo Association. He said traveling the state for various competitions allows communities to learn more about the sport and potentially encourage kids to join.
“I think so many kids just need somebody to encourage them and have somebody to believe in them,” Terrell said. “This sport is truly very unique in that it is a family-oriented deal. We leave together as a family — we don’t have a school bus that takes us there. We take off in our pickup and trailer; we’re a family all the way there, while we’re there and we’re a family when we come home.”
Athletes will travel to Pueblo next weekend before the state championships in Lamar over the Memorial Day weekend. Each rider is hoping to qualify for nationals in Wyoming in July.
“Everyone has that competitive nature,” Gibson said, “but we’re going to be friends after the rodeo no matter what.”
The Jefferson County rodeo continues Sunday morning at 8 a.m. and is free to the public. For more information, visit: jeffcohighschoolrodeo.org.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now anchors CBS4 Weekend Morning News and reports during the week. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.