Colorado’s top rodeo talent in town for State Finals
Bob Williams knows many of the top cowboys and cowgirls in the state don’t participate in rodeo for the money.
“Most of them have full-time jobs,” said Williams, rodeo chair for the Mesa County Sheriff’s Posse.
But make no mistake, when the riders, whom Williams refers to as “weekend warriors,” come to town this weekend for the Colorado Pro Rodeo Association State Finals Rodeo, there will be no shortage of talent.
“These are the top cowboys in the state,” he said.
The three-day rodeo, sponsored by the Sheriff’s Posse, starts at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Mesa County Fairgrounds and features the top 12 riders in nine events, including bull riding, team roping, steer wrestling and barrel racing.
The riders qualified by earning points throughout a season that began in March.
The competition runs again at 7 p.m. on Saturday before the wrapping up at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Awards are presented after Sunday’s competition. All events take place every day.
Tickets are $12 for general admission seating, $15 for reserved seating, and $9 for children aged 8-17. Kids ages seven and younger are admitted free.
Prior to Saturday’s event is the annual rodeo parade along Main Street at 10 a.m.
This year’s rodeo features several returning champions, including Clifton resident Travis Bounds, who won the team roping championship in 2008 and 2010.
Bounds, who won the title last year with Caleb Anderson, will be roping with his brother, Hank, who lives in Palisade.
The two have spent the season roping as a team, and are ranked similarly individually. Travis is ranked seventh among headers in the event, with $2,738.12 in winnings, and Hank is sixth among heelers, winning $2,738.13.
Travis said the state finals rodeo has a lot more competition than other events since it’s only the top 12 riders in the state, as opposed to a field of 30 or 40.
“When it comes down to it, it’s a little better rodeo,” he said. “You’ve got to go in there and be smart.”
He said having the event at a familiar venue “has its perks,” but there is much more to think about, such as having multiple runs in the three-day span. The key is staying focused.
Also among returning champions is Jesse Jolly, who is on the prowl for his fourth straight all-around championship.
Bullrider Jake Booco, currently ranked 10th in winnings, will be trying for his fourth championship in the event in five years, but will face competition from Josh Hupp, who won the championship in 2009 and is currently fifth in winnings.
Back-to-back bareback champion Larry Carter returns as the top-earning rider in his event with $7,701.
The event serves, in part, as a fundraiser for the posse, with money made by the organization going back into the community, Williams said.