Rodeo begins Wednesday at Eagle County Fair |

Rodeo begins Wednesday at Eagle County Fair

Katie DruckerEagle CorrespondentVail, CO Colorado

EAGLE, Colorado With 3,000 onlookers taken with excitement Jesse Echtler, local boy and second place finisher in the National Western Stock Show in Denver, will ride into the Eagle County Fairgrounds arena to demonstrate his team roping skills.He will rope a steers hind legs, make sure that the ropes are taut and face his teammate, the header, before the clock is stopped. For a hometown kid, there is nothing bigger than your hometown rodeo. I love it. I wouldnt rather do anything else but rope in front of the home crowd, says Echtler.Echtler wants to take this opportunity, in his hometown newspaper, to thank his sponsors and his loved ones for all of their support.That said, Echtler feels more pressure at the Eagle Fair and Rodeo than at any other competition because people are cheering for him as a person. On the road, he says, it is going out and doing a job.Watching the Eagle Fair and Rodeo is what made me want to rodeo when I was a kid, notes Echtler. Team roping is one of the many events that will take place in the four action packed rodeos, Wednesday through Saturday, at the Eagle County Fair.Competitors from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Womans Professional Rodeo Association will be the contestants for the tried and true rodeo events.For the uninitiated, in the bareback riding contest, participants will ride a bucking horse for eight seconds holding on tightly to nothing but a single-handhold rigging cinched around the horses girth. In steer wrestling they will drop off a horses back, grabbing a steer by the horns, wrestling it to the ground. Tie-down roping finds cowboys mounted on horseback, giving a head start to a calf, then chasing it down the arena, roping the calf on its side and tying three of its legs together with a piggin string.Contestants will also participate in the saddle bronc riding and bull riding events. The audience can also watch cowgirls and their horses circle three barrels in a cloverleaf pattern as quickly as possible in the crowd -pleasing barrel race contest.One hundred dollars is given to the winner of each event nightly, $3,000 of added money is awarded to the overall winner of the timed events and $6,000 given to the overall winner of the rough events. Children will also get a piece of the action when they hop on the back of a sheep as it jolts out of the chute in the Mutton Bustin event. This is a crowd favorite, explains Brad Higgins, fair manager for the county. Months before the excitement begins, hundreds of hours behind the scenes are invested in making this rodeo the best it can be. A lot of time and effort goes into this. No less than 100 volunteers, 25 part-time staff and countless county full-time employees that work on this, says Higgins. He adds that their work pays off. The county fair rodeo missed winning Mountain State Circuit rodeo of the year and most improved rodeo by one vote. That circuit includes all PRCA rodeos in Colorado and Wyoming.If rodeo action isnt enough, there will be nightly musical entertainment at the fair. Music begins at 10 p.m. when the rodeo concludes. Heres the line-up:Wednesday, July 30 Too Young to KnowThursday, July 31 Walker Williams BandFriday, Aug. 1 Boo Daddy BandSaturday, Aug. 2 Steve Manshel Band

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