Eagle County Rodeo: Mutton busting is kid-sized rodeo
EAGLE, Colorado – What is a mutton and how do you bust it? That question might best be answered in no words at all by children ages 5 to 8. Just watch those tough kiddos hop on bucking sheep and hold on as long as they can. That’s mutton busting for you.At 7:45 p.m., the event takes place at the Eagle County Fairgrounds’ large outdoor arena before the pro rodeo starts.For those who might think riding a sheep is a fluffy matter, think again.Stephanie Renzelman, 19, of Gypsum, is working at the Eagle County Fair & Rodeo this week. When the mutton busting event takes center stage in the rodeo arena, she flashes back to her own experience, abbreviated as it was.”I did with two of my cousins,” said Renzelman. “I just remember I didn’t stay on for even one second.”That’s what 19-year-old Jaime Proctor of Eagle remembers as well. She recalls she really wanted to ride the sheep, but mutton busting is harder than it looks.Sometimes, however, a child turns in an unexpected performance.”The other night, these girls from out of town tried it,” said Linda Jones, who has helped put on the local mutton busting event for about six years. “One of the girls was real excited, the other one not so much, but they both did it and one of them took second. The family was thrilled.”Jones also has a 30-year-old son, Scott, who enjoyed mutton busting as a kid and still competes in rodeo events today.”He loved it,” Jones said. “He looked forward to that every year. One year, he was over the weight limit and was so disappointed.”One of the things Jones said she enjoys most about mutton busting is seeing the kids return and improve year after year.”Sometimes there’s tears out there in the arena but everybody always gets up all right,” she said. “It’s a great event. I hope it never goes away – it gives city kids a chance to ride a critter.”
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