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Eagle celebrates cowboy culture

Sarah Mausolf
smausolf@vaildaily.com
Eagle, CO Colorado
Special to the Vail DailyHorse trainer and breeder Daniel Harris, of Whitewater, won the Extreme Cowboy Championships during the 2007 Rocky Mountain Horse Expo at the Eagle County Fairgrounds
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EAGLE, Colorado – There’s an old saying that ponders, “Where did all the cowboys go?”

Well, they haven’t vanished from America, according to Pete Relyea, an organizer for the upcoming Rocky Mountain Horse Expo in Eagle.

“You just can’t see them from the road,” he said.

Come this weekend, cowboys will congregate in Eagle to give folks a glimpse of the ranching life.

The Rocky Mountain Horse Expo will celebrate all things equine Friday through Sunday at the Eagle County Fairgrounds.

Organized by the Denver-based Colorado Horse Council, the event features a rodeo, trade show, dummy roping for tikes, and presentations on horse-related topics.

To see cowboys square off, check out the rodeo on Saturday night.

“Cowboys from America’s best cattle ranches come and show off their skills,” said Elizabeth Testa, assistant coordinator for the expo.

From clinging to bucking broncos to coaxing steers away from the herd, the cowboys engage in bouts of athleticism.

They even compete in wild cow milking. That’s when cowboys capture a cow who has been separated from her calf, and collect enough milk so a judge can pour it from a bottle onto the ground.

“It’s very exciting,” Testa said. “The cows aren’t necessarily cooperative.”

When it comes to living the cowboy life, it’s best to start children young. That’s the idea behind the “extreme junior dummy roping” event at the expo.

Often decked out in cowboy getups, kids practice roping a fake steer or calf. Winners get prizes like belt buckles.

“It’s a great way to get the kids started,” said Relyea, roping organizer and founder of the Colorado-based Cowboys for Kids. “You can give kids a rope and they’ll play with it for hours and hours trying figure it out.”

Once, a little girl beat her older sister at roping, Relyea recalled. She turned to her older sister, who was crying, and quipped “That’s the agony of defeat.”

Two events are new this year. With team roping, two cowboys on horseback rope a steer, with one cowboy circling the head and the other nabbing the feet.

The other new event is team sortings, where cowboys must separate numbered calves from a herd in sequence. That’s a real skill cowboys use on the ranch when they must separate a sick animal from the herd, Relyea said.

Along with the various horse events, experts will be on hand to deliver presentations.

Audra Dobbs, Miss Rodeo Colorado, will deliver a talk on her journey from “Cowgirl to Queen.” Also, she looks forward to speaking with audiences about horse ownership.

“It’s been such a blessing in my life and it’s such a positive thing,” she said.

Like many other businesses struck by the recession, the horse industry is going through hard times right now, Relya said. The horse expo underscores the fact that the animals still have a place in modern society.

“Horses are still important in today’s world,” he said. “There are a lot of people who really do care about them.”

Timed with the Eagle Fair and Rodeo this year, the expo is designed to acquaint visitors with the horse industry.

“It’s a great way to promote the horse industry to the general public who may not know much about horses or have much exposure to them,” Testa said.

Friday, July 24

8:30 a.m.: Doors open

Purina Arena

Location: Eagle River Center east end

10 to 11 a.m.: Clinic – Ryan Gingerich on “Evaluating your horse’s behavior”

noon to 1 p.m.: Clinic – Jason Patrick on “A process of patience: Making of a bridle horse

1 to 2 p.m.: Clinic – Art Kiger on “Roll-backs”

2 to 3 p.m.: Clinic – Ryan Gingerich on “Playing the station game”

4 to 5 p.m.: Clinic – Jason Patrick on “Colt starting/young horses under saddle”

Today’s Horse Trader Grandstand

Location: Rodeo grounds

9 to 10 a.m.: Clinic – Art Kiger on “Collection”

10 to 11 a.m.: Clinic – Curt Pate on “Effective stockmanship.”

noon to 2 p.m.: Breed, sale horses, stallion and mare presentations

2 to 3 p.m.: Clinic – Curt Pate on “Ranch horsemanship and cattle handling”

4 to 6 p.m.: Breed, sale horses, stallion and mare presentations

6 to 9 p.m.: Extreme Junior Dummy Roping followed by Jackpot Team Roping

Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Green Resource University

Location: “washrack”

9 to 10 a.m.: Class – Joy Altermatt on “Solutions for your problem mares and stallions: Can I still get a baby after all?”

10 to 11 a.m.: Class – Dr. John Harris on “Trimming and shoeing from a veterinarian’s perspective”

noon to 1 p.m. Class – Rachel Knorr on “Matching the feed to the horse”

1 to 2 p.m.: Class – Chris Whitney on “Unwanted horses: what next?”

2 to 3 p.m.: Class – Kathy Doesken on “Composting: revving up the garden and pasture”

4 to 5 p.m.: Class – Miss Rodeo Colorado on “Cowgirl to Queen”

5 to 6 p.m.: Class – Joy Altermatt on “Equine reproduction innovations”

Junior Rodeo Arena Fun for Kids

Location: south east lawn

noon to 1 p.m.: Stick horse rodeo

1 to 2 p.m.: Buckaroo roping lessons

2 to 3 p.m.: Stick horse rodeo

4 to 5 p.m.: Buckaroo roping lessons

Trade Show open from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Eagle River Center

Saturday, July 26

8:30 a.m.: doors open

Purina Arena

Location: Eagle River Center east end

10 to 11 a.m.: Clinic – Ryan Gingerich on “No more bucking bronc!”

noon to 1 p.m.: Clinic – Jason Patrick on “Hackamore: A lost art form.”

1 to 2 p.m.: Clinic – Ryan Gingerich on “Bolting be gone!”

2 to 3 p.m.: Clinic – Art Kiger on “Flagging Part 2 Saddling the Bucking Horse.”

noon to 1 p.m.: Clinic – Jason Patrick on “Colt starting – day 2”

Today’s Horse Trader Grandstand

Location: rodeo grounds

10 to 11 a.m.: Clinic – Curt Pate on “effective stockmanship.”

noon to 2 p.m.: Breed, sale horses, stallion and mare presentations”

2 to 3 p.m.: Curt Pate on “Ranch horsemanship and cattle handling”

4 to 6 p.m.: Celebrity team penning

6 to 7 p.m.: Prep for rodeo

7 to 9 p.m.: Eagle Valley Championship Working Ranch Cowboys Association ranch rodeo (tickets are $15)

Ranch-Way Barn-side Arena

Location: south side of barn

noon to 1 p.m.: Clinic – Art Kiger on “Flagging part 1 helping the horse that bucks”

1 to 3 p.m.: Cowboys for Kids Extreme Junior Dummy Roping

4 to 6 p.m.: Breed, sale horses, stallion and mare presentations”

Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Green Resource University

Location: “washrack”

9 to 10 a.m.: Class – Joy Altermatt on “Solutions for your problem mares and stallions: Can I still get a baby after all?”

10 to 11 a.m. Class – Dr. John Harris on “Trimming and shoeing from a veterinarian’s perspective”

noon to 1 p.m.: Class – Miss Rodeo Colorado on “Fundamentals of horse ownership”

1 to 2 p.m.: Class – Joy Altermatt on “Solutions for your problem mares and stallions: Can I still get a baby after all?”

2 to 3 p.m.: Class – Kathy Doesken on “Composting: clean, new riches from your barnyard or stable

4 to 5 p.m.: Class – Rachel Knorr on “Matching the feed to the horse”

5 to 6 p.m.: Class – Chris Whitney on “Unwanted horses: what next?”

Kent Feeds Junior Rodeo Arena Fun for Kids

Location: South east lawn

10 to 11 a.m.: Buckaroo roping lessons

noon to 1 p.m.: Stick horse rodeo

1 to 2 p.m.: Buckaroo roping lessons

2 to 3 p.m.: Stick horse rodeo

4 to 5 p.m.: Stick horse rodeo

Trade Show open from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Eagle River Center

Sunday, July 26

8:30 a.m.: doors open

Purina Arena

Location: Eagle River Center east end

9 to 10 a.m.: Cowboy church

10 to 11 a.m.: Clinic – Jason Patrick on “Colts – day 3”

11 to noon: Clinic – Ryan Gingerich on “Getting your horse to the green zone”

1 to 2 p.m.: Clinic – Art Kiger on “Ground driving part 1 teaching the horse to move with confidence.”

2 to 3 p.m.: Clinic – Ryan Gingerich on “What about the bucking horse?”

3 to 4 p.m.: Clinic – Art Kiger on “Ground driving part 2 accepting the rider”

Today’s Horse Trader Grandstand

Location: rodeo grounds

9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Team sorting

1 to 3 p.m.: Rocky Mountain ranch rodeo

3 to 4 p.m.: Clinic – Jason Patrick on “1-man pasture doctoring”

Ranch-Way Barn-side Arena

Location: south side of barn

9 to 11 a.m.: Breed, sale horses, stallion and mare presentations”

11 a.m. to noon: Clinic – Curt Pate on “Effective stockmanship”

1 to 2 p.m.: Clinic – Curt Pate on “Ranch horsemanship and cattle handling”

2 to 4 p.m.: Breed, sale horses, stallion and mare presentations

Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Green Resource University

Location: “washrack”

10 to 11 a.m.: Class – Miss Rodeo Colorado on “Cowgirl to queen”

11 a.m. to noon: Class – Dr. John Harris on “Trimming and shoeing from a veterinarian’s perspective”

1 to 2 p.m.: Clinic – Joy Altermatt on “Solutions for your problem mares and stallions: Can I still get a baby after all?”

3 to 4 p.m.: Clinic – Kathy Doesken on “Composting: surprising new uses for the original recyclable”

Kent Feeds Junior Rodeo Arena Fun for Kids

Location: Eagle River Center Outdoors – east

10 to 11 a.m.: Buckaroo roping lessons

11 to noon: Stick horse rodeo

1 to 2 p.m.: Buckaroo roping lessons

2 to 3 p.m.: Stick horse rodeo

Trade Show open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Eagle River Center


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