Little britches produces local success

Rodeo circuit develops junior competitors, including 'a lot of World Champions'

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When the Little Britches rodeo comes to Craig, there are quite a few "Back when I was in Little Britches" stories the annual event elicits.

"Craig seems to always have a lot of World Champions," said Diane Brannan, coordinator of the Craig rodeo. "There are quite a few World Champions who are now parents and helping their children in the rodeos."

Three sisters, Janice Vernon, Joyce Barnes and Pam Taylor, were all Little Britches cowgirls growing up.

"You want it more for them than you did when you were little," said Joyce, whose son, Casey, won the Little Wrangler All-Around World Championship last year.

She was a World Champion in pole bending and goat tying.

Casey said his favorite cowboy is his cousin, Troy Vernon.

Janice Vernon is Troy's mother, and she was also a Little Britches competitor.

"Little Britches is where you learn to rodeo around here," Joyce said. "There are junior rodeos, but they are so far away from here."

Pam's 8-year-old son, Denton, is in seventh in the All-Around competition in Little Wranglers. His six-year-old brother, Dusty, is earning his spurs as a Little Wrangler, as well.

"I never realized it would be so much fun just to watch," said Pam, who was an All-Around World Champion in 1980. "It's a lot of fun just to be involved again."

The Little Britches circuit is for junior cowpokes ages 5 to 18. The divisions are ages 5 to 7, 8 to 13, and 14 to 18. The 5- to 7-year-old division, or the "Little Wranglers," was a new addition two years ago.

Brannan said that at least 20 local competitors are entered in the rodeo that runs Saturday to Monday at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.

Brannan's daughters, Tammy and Tia, are World Champions. Tia is the current points leader in goat tying.

"Locally, there's interest and success," she said.

In total, there will be at least 120 competitors the weekend.

"We put on a good rodeo that attracts a lot of people," Brannan said. "We also have a lot of local interest because of the history of the rodeo here."

The rodeo will have more than $25,000 in prizes and saddles available. Most of that money is in the form of Rodeo Bucks, which can be spent at selected local businesses.

H&H Stock Company from Del Norte is providing the stock for the rodeo.

Traditionally, the Craig Little Britches Rodeo is one of the largest in the national circuit.

There will be a full rodeo each day with traditional rodeo events, such as bareback riding, barrel racing, pole bending, saddle bronc riding, breakaway racing, goat tying, bull riding, steer wrestling and team roping. Other events special to junior rodeo are trail course, flag race, ribbon roping and tie-down roping.

The cost for each rodeo is $3 for adults, $2 for children and seniors and $6 for a family.

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