Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo set for July 2-4


By Diana Talbot | Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo

A traditional American rodeo is a must-see event. Join the fun as cowboys and cowgirls from various states compete for prizes and prize money the sanctioned rodeo series known as the Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo. 

The rodeos are Saturday and Sunday, July 2 and 3, at 6 p.m. and Monday, July 4, at 2 p.m. at the Western Heritage Event Center arena and grounds.

This year marks the 72nd anniversary of the Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo, and the event is filled with a variety of exhibition events to make an entertaining affair. Each rodeo begins with a presentation of flags waving from westerners on horseback and the national anthem. 

Rodeo clowns are both entertainers and bullfighters. Their primary job is to protect the cowboy and prevent a tragedy with dangerous livestock. Between activities, the clown will work the crowd. The antics of the clown cannot be predicted, but often include singing, dancing, joking and pantomimes within the act. Other rodeo events are interspersed with a variety of other activities like the mutton bustin’ contest and the Daisy BB gun raffle.

Mutton bustin’ is a crowd-pleasing event. Cowpokes, 6 years and younger, will test their strength and stamina by riding a sheep as long as they can hold on. This contest is held daily with 10 new contestants each leaving the arena with a special prize and the overall winner, the boy or girl recording the longest ride, receiving an authentic Red Ryder Rodeo belt buckle.

Tickets are available online and at the gate prior to the event. The cost is $20 per adult and $10 for children 12 and under. A limited number of box seats are available and can be purchased by calling (970) 749-3492.

Concessions will be available throughout the event, including Our Savior Lutheran School manning the beer garden and selling drinks and snacks, and other vendors providing barbecue and western soft goods.

The rodeo has a long history in Pagosa Springs and was named after Red Ryder, who was the feature cowboy character in the popular long-running western comic strip created by Stephen Slesinger and artist Fred Harman. Red, with his horse Thunder, was a tough cowboy who lived on Painted Valley Ranch in the Blanco Basin in the San Juan Mountains. He and his sidekick, Little Beaver, with his horse Papoose, dealt with the bad guys of the day. The comic strip was wildly popular and ran from 1938-1964 in 750 newspapers.

The Western Heritage Event Center, the organization that produces the rodeo, invites everyone to share in preserving the history and tradition of the American West. 

More rodeo information is available by calling (970) 749-3492 or visiting