Wow, so where do I even start? I guess I will start by giving you a little background. Several weeks ago, I was in the office with the team and it came up that we had been invited to attend Gunnison Cattlemen’s Days 2019 in Gunnison, CO. Everyone was bummed because the schedule wasn’t going to work for them this year, but I could make it work with the rodeo run I was doing. So I arranged my travel plans and counted down the days until I hit the road.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, I knew that I was going to have an absolute blast and that the committee had been amazing to even offer the opportunity. But the reality of this experience blew my expectations out of the water and that is what I am excited to share with you. The reality of not only Cattlemen’s Days Rodeo, but the whole experience, which I highly recommend doing.
My experience started on July 9th with the Tough Enough To Wear Pink Concert & Auction in Crested Butte, CO. A quick fun fact before I keep going, I have been lucky enough to be staying at the Elevation Hotel & Spa in Crested Butte for my entire stay. Which was funny because when I pulled into Gunnison after a 5-hour drive, I was pooped! I put the hotel address in and found out I was staying another 45 minutes away. Needless to say by the time I got to the hotel I was ready for a shower and a nap, which I only got one of those in before I had to be downstairs for the first event of the week for me.
Tough Enough to Wear Pink Concert and Auction
This was my first impression of what this “whole thing” was all about. And let me tell you, the first impression didn’t let me down. With a silent auction, live auction and live, intimate entertainment, it’s hard to not get wrapped up in the cause. Which, for those of you that don’t know, all the money raised goes to the local Tough Enough to Wear Pink organization. The entertainment was top-notch. Imagine a dimly lit ballroom and acoustic guitars played by two great artists, the great Pam Tillis and Kendall Marvel. It was simply amazing!
This just one of several fundraisers that helps raise money for the organization, but it’s one of their largest. Every year, TETWP Executive Director, Heidi Sherratt, shoots for at least the $300,000 mark. I am looking forward to seeing what they were able to raise this year at that event alone.
It’s amazing to see the community come together for a good cause. Gunnison County is not large by any means so to have a community as close-knit as this to be able to raise the kind of money they do was amazing to see. It really gave me hope for other organizations that are promoting similar programs. That was actually a conversation that I had with Heidi,
“How can other rodeo committees implement similar programs?”
Her answer was simple,
“It’s all about finding the right people.”
I was able to see her village of people in action starting on Tuesday night and it was something else! I can’t wait to see what the final numbers come in at, but they had entertainment from Pam Tillis and Kendall Marvel. These are two country artists who were absolutely out of this world on stage and probably some of the nicest people you will ever meet.
A trip to the mountains would be incomplete without riding horses, so that’s what I did. Thankfully, I had met some pretty cool friends and was invited to tag along on this excursion. We spent the late morning and early afternoon on horseback enjoying no cell service and a cool mountain breeze.
This was just one of the instances where it hit me that this place was special. I have always found inspiration in the mountains but this was different. I was getting the whole picture of what this event means to the people that put it on and the surrounding community as well. The best way I can explain it is that these people breathe passion and it was infectious. I caught the bug all over again. The rodeo bug, that is.
Tough Enough to Wear Pink Rodeo Performance
The first rodeo performance was that evening following our horseback ride. The infamous “Tough Enough to Wear Pink Night” that everyone had been talking about. This was a big night because there was added money for the contestants to win if they were wearing a pink shirt that night.
It was a sea of pink in the stands, while Colorado showers threatened the show, it quickly cleared up and the rest of the performance was outstanding. There’s just something about a rodeo set against a beautiful Colorado sunset.
Cattlemen’s Rodeo Highlights
When it comes to the actual rodeo performances, you can’t beat the Gunnison background but the rodeo action did not disappoint. Friday night was their Wrangler Patriot night and the local fire department volunteered their time and truck to hang one of the largest American flags I’ve ever seen over the arena. It gave me chills!
It wouldn’t be Gunnison Cattlemen’s Days without the great John Harrison. For those of you who haven’t had the honor of watching this guy live, you are truly missing out. For those of you that don’t know, John Harrison is a noted rodeo clown and barrelman in the rodeo world. John became a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) in 1999, as a trick and roman rider, and trick roper. He later added barrelman to his PRCA card.
Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls
Another major player in Cattlemen’s Days was the wonderful Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls. Being able to witness the skill and true talent that these ladies bring to the table was the icing on the cake for the rodeo performances. Cowboy Lifestyle Network is excited to announce that we will be receiving regular stories from them, so make sure to check back for new updates on these ladies!
I believe that it goes without saying that what Cattlemen’s Days Rodeo has grown into is something that everyone should experience. At least once! For someone like myself who sees several rodeos in the span of just a few weeks, it takes a lot for me to be able to say that there is something special about one, but Gunnison has done it. Between the TETWP initiative and the rodeo performances and the people and the town, you begin to see the big picture. I truly cannot wait to return to Gunnison Cattlemen’s Days next year and experience the magic all over again and I hope you will join me!
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