By Lisa Scott
Special to The SUN
The Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo began in Pagosa Springs in 1949 and has been a town and rodeo tradition ever since.
The rodeo was named for the famous comic strip character, Red Ryder, who was drawn by Pagosa Springs resident Fred Harman Jr. The comic strip was wildly popular and ran from 1938-1964 in 750 newspapers.
Red was a cowboy hero and a crime fighter of the west, accompanied by his sidekick Little Beaver, a young Navajo Indian boy. Both had trusty steeds named Thunder and Papoose, respectively.
A local talent and resident cowboy has agreed to portray Red Ryder during each rodeo this year. Come experience the rodeo and have your photograph taken with the real-life character.
This local young man exhibits all the characteristics of the traditional cowboy — he loves the land, the ranch and the plains, herds cattle, has guns and rides horses. He’s modest and kind and his determination always shows him giving it all he’s got. Come meet our local Red Ryder.
The rodeos are Thursday, July 4, at 2 p.m., Friday, July 5, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, 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 are available throughout the events.
Following the rodeos on Wednesday and Saturday, a concert will be held at 6 p.m. McKenzies Mill is characterized as a country rock and roll band with an electrifying stage presence. The concert will be complete prior to dark so attendees can make their way to their favorite fireworks location. Tickets can be purchased at the same locations. More rodeo or concert information is available by calling 264-2730.
Each daily performance begins with an impressive grand entry, with flags waving from westerners on horseback. Rodeo events are interspersed with a variety of other acts like the Mutton Bustin’ contest, a performance by an equestrian drill team, Daisy BB gun raffle, rodeo clown Timber Tuckness and the presentation of the honorary Red Ryder award.
Sponsors for this rodeo series include Pagosa Land Company, The Pagosa Springs SUN, Robert D. Lindner Ranches, Rio Grande Savings and Loan, Scott Strategic Investments, DEVO Capital Management, Merel and Thomas-Friends of the Rodeo, Custom Homes by Vernon Leslie, Ace Appraisal, Budweiser, Colorado Rock and Dirt Excavation, Diamond M King Ranch, First Southwest Bank, Grand Junction Pipe and Supply, The Junction Restaurant, Parelli Natural Horsemanship, Ponderosa Lumber Company, Silver Dollar Liquors and Pagosa Bar, and KWUF Radio.
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 event.