Hayden’s Jake Booco rides last year in the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo series in Steamboat Springs. The rodeo is back this year, starting at 7:30 p.m. today at Brent Romick Rodeo Arena.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Hayden’s Jake Booco rides last year in the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo series in Steamboat Springs. The rodeo is back this year, starting at 7:30 p.m. today at Brent Romick Rodeo Arena.

More bulls for summer rodeo in Steamboat

Several initiatives should boost competitors, excitement

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Rodeo schedule for Friday and Saturday

6 p.m. Pre-rodeo barbecue starts

6:15 to 7:15 p.m. Pre-rodeo live entertainment

7:30 p.m. Rodeo starts

Order of events

(Subject to change nightly)

Opening ceremonies

Bareback riding

Sponsor flags

Team roping

Calf scramble

Tie-down roping

Ram scramble

Steer wrestling

Clown act

Saddle bronc riding

No. 11 Team roping

Cowgirls barrel racing

Pee wee barrel racing

Bull riding

Ticket information

Adults: $15 at the gate, $14 pre-sale

Children ages 7 to 15: $8 at gate, $7.50 presale

Children 6 and younger: free

Presale tickets are available at Sheraton Steamboat Resort, The Steamboat Grand, Gondola General, the information kiosk in Gondola Square, F.M. Light & Sons, All That Jazz, the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association and www.steamboatpror... Central Reservations. All tickets are general admission, except for VIP tickets. Visit www.steamboatpror... for more information.

It’s been a good season for Jake Booco.

The Hayden bull rider won a fat paycheck for a series in Rifle through the winter and is sitting at the top of the Colorado Pro Rodeo Association standings with $2,748.84 in winnings, nearly $1,000 more than anyone else.

He pulled in good money from a ride in February and recently hit it big at a Professional Bull Riding event in Phillipsburg, Kan.

“They didn’t have enough guys, so I entered twice,” he said. “I rode both my bulls in the long round and in the short round and won $2,200 out there.”

The start of the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo series at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Brent Romick Rodeo Arena is more good news, he said, and not just because that rodeo offers the best chance for his friends and family to watch him work.

Steamboat Springs’ 21-performance summer rodeo is launching several new programs this summer to draw young bull riders to its weekend competitions.

The first will be plenty obvious to spectators. The events now will kick off with an apprentice bull riding program meant to help young riders trying to earn their Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association card.

Young riders must earn $1,000 competing before they can qualify for a card. The program in Steamboat allows those riders to compete against one another rather than against grizzled veterans like Booco, allowing them to earn their required money more quickly.

The program was made possible by an allocation from the city’s special-event fund, and it should be a boon to cowboys and their fans, who figure to get double the bull riding.

“That’s the most popular event,” Steamboat rodeo announcer John Shipley said, “except maybe here, where it might be the ram scramble.”

There will still only be one ram scramble, featuring kids 5 and younger chasing a lamb, per night. The added bull riders will be good news for everyone, however. While Booco is long past trying to qualify for his card, many riders who come for that opportunity are likely to sign up for the regular bull riding, as well.

“That will just make the paychecks bigger,” Booco said.

That should go along well with another new initiative to ramp up the bull riding. The top riders from each month will get to dip into a new prize pool, making a trip to Steamboat even more inciting for the traveling riders.

“If someone’s successful a week or two early in the month, it should keep them coming back,” Shipley said. “That money won’t help the younger guys toward their $1,000, but it will darn sure buy gas to help them get to the next rodeo.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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