Pro Rodeo is back in town | SteamboatToday.com

Pro Rodeo is back in town

Steamboat kicks off series; $22,000 awarded during first weekend

Steamboat Springs resident Ronni Collins holds her daughter Mia on a fence with Jake Alering and Alivia Thompson on June 13 at the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena.

— The news after Week 1 of the 10-week Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series is good.

Crowds flocked to the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena at Howelsen Hill early and often, swarming the rodeo grounds before the Friday and Saturday shows last week, packing the main grandstands both nights.

The stock was lively, the action was fast, the jokes were family friendly and from top to bottom it made for a great opening weekend – almost too great, announcer John Shipley said.

The rodeo rode into town last week and kicked off at 6 p.m. with live entertainment and a barbecue, just as it will do today and Saturday. The real show got under way at 7:30, again is it will this weekend. Shipley and the rodeo organizers and support crew didn’t file out with the crowd about 10 p.m., however. Instead, the whole team stayed on until 12:45 a.m., making sure every last competitor who signed up got a chance in the ring.

“It went pretty smooth,” Shipley said. “We had a lot of outs (competitors), a whole lot. With as many outs as we had, I was pretty happy.”

The rodeo is laid out to keep viewers interested, so the number of competitors who actually compete during the scheduled rodeo is capped, any overflow given a chance to ride after the crowd has gone.

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Massive fields in several events testified to their popularity, helped build a healthy prize pool and detracted from the sleep of those behind the scenes.

In its second week, the rodeo will have a more manageable – but still plenty healthy – herd of competitors, Shipley said. And he might even get to sleep tonight.

“It’s not unusual early in the season,” Shipley said of the late nights. “It’s like putting on another whole rodeo after the audience leaves. I doubt the audience will know the difference (between this week and last). We’ll have plenty of competitors this week, just not as much slack (extra).”

Cowboys and cowgirls managed to win nearly $22,000 at least week’s season-opening rodeo, and plenty are coming back for a second chance at the riches.

Leading the way will be J.W. Winklepleck. The Strasburg native rode last week in the bareback competition, earning $87.40 by tying for fourth place. He’ll hope to better that performance this week, in addition to a few other duties.

Winklepleck also will serve as the rodeo clown for the next two weekends of the rodeo circuit.

“You just take one event at a time,” he said of the double duty. “I wear my (clown) makeup through both performances. I get out, ride, get off and go put on my baggies and go to being the clown.”

Also joining the rodeo this weekend will be the Dandies performance team. The group of 16 Wyoming women will be representing the Cheyenne, Wyo., Frontier Days, which is scheduled for the last week in July. It will be the second consecutive week the Steamboat series has acknowledged the massive rodeo to the north.

“We’re going to cross our fingers with the weather and advise everyone come out, bring a jacket and spend the evening with us,” Shipley said.