Upon entering the Elizabeth Stampede Rodeo at Casey Jones Park, it was easy to see why the Stampede is considered one of the best family-friendly Colorado events of the summer.
On June 3, visitors were greeted with bouncy houses — $5 for an …
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On June 3, visitors were greeted with bouncy houses — $5 for an all-day pass — games to try and food, in all its decadent glory, to consume.
After passing the pens with sheep and steers, the arena beckoned with a speaker belting pop-music at a decibel level loud enough for the entire park to hear, but not so loud one couldn’t hear the person beside them.
Experienced folks who bought their seats early got to sit in sections A-H, where the sun beat on their backs instead of their faces. Cowboy hats were abundant, not just in the chutes but in the stands, along with baseball caps and a few spray-bottle fans.
Amid the cheers and excitement, a new record was set for the arena by Kelly Timberman of Casper, Wyoming, for bareback riding, scoring 87.5 points.
For each of the rodeo competitions scheduled, a Behind-the-Chutes tour — which the Elizabeth Stampede began around 10 years ago — was hosted. The tour quite literally took attendees behind the chutes of the rodeo, showing off its animals and explaining typical rodeo terminology, equipment and the processes involved with the logistics of each sport.
Caylee Burns, wife of local rodeo bullfighter Cade Burns, led the tours.
“The atmosphere is changing around rodeo,” Caylee Burns said. “We need to be proactive to change with the times. The tours are a new kind of thing to welcome people to our rodeo.”
Rodeo royalty from the area walked with tourists and kept younger ones occupied as they played with the fringe on their chaps and tried on tiaras.
According to Caylee Burns, there have been many newcomers to the rodeo in recent years. On the tours, when asked who had never been to a rodeo, nearly half the people raised their hands.
One of the main focal points of the tour is showing how the animals are treated at rodeos.
“There are 70 regulations alone in the PRCA documents just about the safety and well-being of the animals,” Caylee Burns said.
The Stampede’s hospitable environment has made it an attraction for tourists traveling from abroad. When announcer Les Olhauser asked the crowd at the 2 p.m. rodeo if there were any out-of-country guests, people from Australia and Ireland raised their hands.
Casey Jones Park Arena seats 2,166 occupants. Approximately 8,000 tickets were sold to the Stampede this year.
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