Eric Fleming ties off a calf during the calf-roping portion of last year's Moffat County High School rodeo. The MCHS rodeo team kicked off its season Saturday in Cortez.

File photo

Eric Fleming ties off a calf during the calf-roping portion of last year's Moffat County High School rodeo. The MCHS rodeo team kicked off its season Saturday in Cortez.

Rodeo team starts slow in Cortez

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— The Moffat County High School rodeo team competed last weekend in its first rodeo of the spring season, but winter weather forced a quick exit for the Bulldog cowboys, cowgirls and coach.

MCHS coach Jill Hegwer was in such a hurry Sunday to leave Cortez, she didn't even record the results from the Bulldogs' season-opener.

"I'm not sure how everybody did," Hegwer said. "Everybody took off to try and stay ahead of the weather. As soon as they were done with their event, they split."

Hegwer said the weather in Cortez was perfect for a season-opener. It was the weather on the way home that worried the participants.

"It was really nice," she said. "It was sunny and in the 60s. We were listening to the weather report during the rodeo, and it was snowing everywhere else in the state.

"Boy, it was a nightmare coming home. It was whiteout from Rifle to Craig. A long drive."

Despite the complications after the rodeo had finished, Hegwer said the event went off without a hitch even though many of the participants were performing with limited practice time.

"Overall, not just our kids, but other kids I know, because of the snow throughout the state, haven't been able to practice much," she said. "It's not just Craig's team that didn't get out much. Everybody is rusty."

The Cortez rodeo was split into two arenas: Rough stock outside (bulls, saddle-bronc and bareback) and the rest of the events inside (calf-roping, goat-tying, barrel-racing, pole-bending and breakaway.)

Hegwer said the team is exited to get back to rodeo after the four-month layoff after the fall season, as are the fans.

"There was a really good crowd," Hegwer said. "Everybody is ready to go. We are starting slow, but rodeo is full of ups and downs. You've got to just take it in stride."

John Vandelinder can be reached at 875-1793, or jvandelinder@craigdailypress.com.

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