Cayuse Classic features horse events, agriculture awareness | SteamboatToday.com

Cayuse Classic features horse events, agriculture awareness

Margaret Hair

— First and foremost, the organizers of the third annual Cayuse Classic want to make sure everyone who attends the daylong event has a good time.

That’s evident in the three rounds of the poker run, in which adult riders take horses around a five-part course on Sidney Peak Ranch, pick up a playing card at each of the five stops and compete with other poker runners for the best hand.

The Cayuse Classic, a fundraiser for the Community Agriculture Alliance, starts with a number of competitions for work and show horses, and features live music, a barbecue and a live auction. The first part of the day is free to spectators and includes a free lunch. Everything after 3:30 p.m., including barbecue and entertainment, is ticketed.

“We wanted to go with something that we knew still carried on with the heritage of our valley,” Marsha Daughenbaugh, executive director of the Community Agriculture Alliance, said about the event’s horsemanship theme.

The idea is to incorporate all facets of the Yampa Valley into the day’s festivities and bring people from all reaches of the community into the agriculture family, Daughenbaugh said.

“That’s what Ag Alliance is about, is trying to raise awareness for how important agriculture is, and also trying to bridge the different interests – with the resort side and the business side and the agriculture side,” she said.

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The event serves three purposes, Routt County Extension Agent CJ Mucklow said. Primarily, Cayuse Classic is a social gathering, a chance to bring together agriculture people and nonagriculture people, he said.

“That’s what we’re trying to do. Having an event like that is about showing people what agriculture is about,” Mucklow said. “I think if we can get those people to know more about agriculture, they’re more supportive of keeping agriculture viable here and they’re more knowledgeable about the community here.”

In addition to its social function, Cayuse Classic represents a chance to have fun with horse events and raise money to keep the Community Agriculture Alliance going in its mission, Mucklow said.

“I have such great respect for everybody in agriculture – their word is just as good as it can be. … And I would like for more of the newcomers to understand how good our agriculture people are,” Daughenbaugh said.