Beyond the Rodeo: Gunnison Cattlemen’s Days
There are hundreds of rodeos across the country and even more if you look at the rodeo scene on an international level, but what makes a rodeo special? What gives the audience that “wow” factor when they are sitting in the stands? It’s the careful planning, the timed production, and the people on the committee aiming to provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience for their attendees. To kick this series off, I want to highlight the specific efforts of Gunnison Cattlemen’s Days. Not only are they the #1 Tough Enough to Wear Pink Rodeo in the country, but they also put on a hell of a show. Join me as I dive into what makes this rodeo special and more information about the folks who put it on year after year.
About Gunnison Cattlemen’s Days
Usually taking place in the middle of July, Gunnison Cattlemen’s Days, in Gunnison, Colorado, sets the stage for a truly one-of-a-kind rodeo experience. With everything from top-notch stock to quality entertainment, there is so much to attend and enjoy at this “Granddaddy of all Colorado Rodeos.” The whole family will have a wonderful time at the Cattlemen’s Days Rodeo, experiencing the western way of life, the best livestock in the nation, horse shows and races, boot-stomping entertainment, concessions for the rodeo and horse show provided by the 4-H clubs and other vendors. Everyone will cheer on the roping, riding, bull riding, and racing skills of the top cowboys and cowgirls in the country.
While pulling off the title of “Grand Daddy of all Colorado Rodeos” is something to be proud of in and of itself, Gunnison Cattlemen’s Days goes beyond the call of duty to raise money for organizations throughout Gunnison County and across the country. In addition to producing their annual rodeo, Cattlemen’s Days awards scholarships to local 4-H and FFA students and has several other initiatives supporting other local organizations. Traditionally, two nights of rodeo are dedicated to raising funds and support for the Gunnison Ranchland Conservation Legacy and local assistance programs for first responders.
“Cattlemen’s Days was a rodeo in 2020 that was able to defy the odds with aup tremendous effort from the rodeo committee and the local community. In 30 days, the community raised $163,000, enough to fund a fan-less rodeo. Gunnison welcomed over 100 NFR Qualifiers, 25 of which were PRCA World Champions, competing for the rodeos record high purse of over $90,000. At the end of the day, Gunnison Cattlemen’s Days rodeo had 3 record breaking nights at a 13% capacity. Community truly is a driving force behind this rodeo.”
Tough Enough to Wear Pink
In case you are just tuning in, Cattlemen’s Days also holds the crown for PRCA’s #1 Tough Enough to Wear Pink (TETWP) rodeo in the nation for the last 5 years. Which, if you know how many rodeos there are across the country, then you know that is not an easy feat. In addition, their efforts didn’t stop in 2020 even though the rest of the world did. This year, you can expect the arena, volunteers, cowboys and cowgirls decked out in their pink gear to support the cause. This year, the committee is adding $8,000 in total incentive money for the winning contestants who wear a pink shirt on Thursday night of the rodeo. That means an added $1,000 per event! This was made possible by Wrangler and the sponsors of Gunnison TETWP.
“In 2020 alone, Cattlemen’s Days TETWP fundraised $557,000 to go back into their extensive programs that provide a variety of support to not just breast cancer, but all cancer patients and families in the valley. Their largest fundraising event, which went through several modifications to survive pandemic restrictions, was their annual songwriter shuffle. Through this event, TETWP raised over $270,000 and the donation of a third vehicle to their Transportation program that had already transported patients over 23,000 miles to appointments outside of the valley this year. In addition, Gunnison’s TETWP has been busy with their local hospital, Gunnison Valley Health, building comprehensive breast care services for the valley. In the last 5 years, TETWP funded the purchase of top-notch technology and patient care including a digital ultrasound machine, a 3D mammography machine, biopsy diagnostic equipment, and this year, completing their wish list, purchased the breast MRI coil. After 2020, Gunnison Cattlemen’s Day TETWP has raised and reinvested $3,742,000 into their valley and are well on their way to having the best small-town breast cancer hospital in the country and impacting the bigger picture of health in a rural community.”
Supporting Cattlemen’s Days Ongoing Efforts
Interested in supporting their efforts? There are several things you can do to support Cattlemen’s Days. The first thing you can do is attend their event July 15-17, 2021. If you’re looking to help from a distance, you can always share this article, share their Facebook page (linked below) or Instagram, or donate directly to their TETWP Pink Program.