Horse Expo headed to Eagle |

Horse Expo headed to Eagle

Connie SteiertVail, CO Colorado
Special to the DailySpecial to the DailyThere will be a Championship Ranch Rodeo competition during the Eagle Valley Rocky Mountain Horse Expo in Eagle, June 1-3.

EAGLE Its beginning to look like the new pavilion at the Eagle County Fairgrounds will be swarming like a beehive throughout the summer.Kicking the summer off in grand Wild West style on June 1-3, is the Eagle Valley Rocky Mountain Horse Expo. This is a new addition to the Rocky Mountain Expo lineup, whose signature annual event was held in Denver in March, drawing some 30,000 people. And, by all accounts, its a huge coup for Eagle County.This is a very exciting time for not only Eagle but the whole Eagle River Valley, says Tim Cochrane, executive director for the Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce. That organization has been working at attracting events to the new Eagle River Pavilion. He said the horse show compliments the areas ranching heritage.The local version of this 16-year-old horse expo is expected to be similar in scope to the Denver event, including activities, speakers and contestants.Its an entertaining and educational venue, where everybody from the person who doesnt have a horse, to the extreme horse person can have fun and learn, says Brian Kitchen, manager of the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo.Cochrane anticipates a crowd upwards of 5,000 people from seven states.

While the Expo will include its hallmark dawn-to-dusk schedule of competitors and clinics, some events will differ.The Wild West Show & Mounted Shooting show brings back the thrills of the Buffalo Bill tours, complete with wagons, horses, Indians, fancy riding and a blaze of pyrotechnics. Three shows will be staged throughout the weekend by the M-Lazy-C Ranch the same outfit that produced the opening ceremonies for the Salt Lake City Olympics. The Extreme Cowboy Race, hosted by Craig Cameron, sets cowboys and cowgirls racing each other against, around and through obstacles to beat the clock. Then, watch real working cowboys show their stuff at the Championship Ranch Rodeo, Working Ranch Cowboys Association sanctioned rodeo, Saturday night. Thus far, there are 17 entries from seven states. Participants will be competing for a $10,000 purse, and a chance to go on to compete in the World Championship Ranch Rodeo in Amarillo in November.The horse expo will be interactive with a lineup of free clinics and speakers. Clinics include roping, horsemanship, training horses, and even horse therapy.There will also be 100 exhibitors selling merchandise at the expo, and a beer garden on Friday and Saturday afternoons and during the rodeo.The shopping will be super, Kitchen says.I think weve hit on a winning combination here, says Cochrane. Even if you are not a horse person, you ought to come down and see whats going on.

In addition to the annual Denver venue, the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo has been held in Grand Junction and Durango in the past. So, why Eagle? They have a great facility there, and lots of horses around there, says Kitchen. Its a fantastic building. The Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce will be handing out guides to Eagle County, and putting together promotions for Eagle and Gypsum. Cochrane anticipates hotels and restaurants to be overflowing.It should really fill our sales tax coffers over its three days, Cochrane says.I think its great for the county, says Brad Higgins, Eagle County fair manager, adding that such events are one of the reasons the county invested money in the building.Higgins has been receiving many calls from people interested in booking the pavilion for everything from mule and trade shows to the Ultimate Fighting Championship this summer. The pavilion may also be used for indoor soccer this coming winter.In fact, he says, hes gotten calls the book the building out to 2011.Theres no end to what can be done with that building, Higgins says.

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