Rocky Mountain Horse Expo in Eagle |

Rocky Mountain Horse Expo in Eagle

Connie Steiert
Vail, CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyOne event at the Eagle Valley Rocky Mountain Horse Expo this weekend ask real working cowboys to compete in what they know best for a cash purse of $10,000.

EAGLE ” Kicking off the summer this weekend at the Eagle County Fairgrounds, in grand Wild West style, 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, it’s 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 area’s ranching heritage.

The local version of this 16-year-old horse expo is expected to be of similar scope to the Denver event, including activities, speakers and contestants.

“It’s an entertaining and educational venue, where everybody from the person who doesn’t have a horse, to the extreme horse person can have fun and learn,” said Brian Kitchen, manager of the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo.

While the Expo will include its hallmark dawn-to-dusk schedule of competitors and clinics, some events will differ.

The Wild West Show and Mounted Shooting show brings back the chills and 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, a WRCA (Working Ranch Cowboys Association) sanctioned rodeo, Saturday night. Participants will compete 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, featuring nationally-known speakers. Clinics include roping, horsemansip, training ranch or tail horses, and even horse therapy. Learn about breeds and bloodlines from breed, stallion and mare demonstrations; or, buy or sell a horse or breeding program.

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 said.

“I think we’ve hit on a winning combination here,” says Cochrane. “Even if you are not a horse person, you ought to come down and see what’s 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,” Kitchen said. “It’s a fantastic building,” he said, of the $4 million structure. “It’s good for outside vendors and inside vendors and is a great design.”

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 said.

“I think it’s great for the county,” Brad Higgins, Eagle County Fair Manager, added, saying that such events are one of the reasons the county invested money in the building.

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