Moffat County hosts state high school rodeo finals this week

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Schedule of events

Schedule of events for the Colorado State High School Rodeo finals:

• Wednesday:

10 a.m. Queen contest

• Thursday

10 a.m. First performance

Following rodeo — Justin Harrington Memorial Goat Roping

8 p.m. Second performance

Following rodeo – Justin Harrington Memorial Goat Roping

• Friday

8 a.m. — Golf tournament

9 a.m. — Cutting

TBA — Justin Harrington Memorial Goat Roping

• Saturday

10 a.m. Third performance

Following rodeo — Justin Harrington Memorial Goat Roping

8 p.m. Fourth performance

Following rodeo – Justin Harrington Memorial Goat Roping

• Sunday

10 a.m. — Championship round

2 p.m. — Awards dinner

Admission:

11 and older: $20*

10 and under: Free

Seniors: Free

Junior High Rodeo Members: Free (w/ back number)

*Wristband, one-time charge for all performances

It took a community effort and almost a year of waiting, but the Colorado State High School Rodeo finals will be coming to Moffat County for the first time this week.

The rodeo runs from Wednesday through Sunday at the Moffat County Fairgrounds, 640 E. Victory Way.

Dave Fleming, former Moffat County High School rodeo coach, said he received help from different community factions to bring the state rodeo to Craig.

“We had to raise $12,000 to get the rodeo here,” Fleming said. “Thanks to everyone, we secured a two-year deal for both this year and next year.”

The Moffat County Tourism Association donated $5,000 for both years, and the City of Craig also donated $2,500 for each year, Fleming said.

The Moffat County Commission allowed the fairgrounds to host the rodeo finals for free.

The MCHS rodeo club donated $1,000 for prize saddles.

The rest of the money came from ads that will be used in the event programs, Fleming said.

“We want to bring people from all over the state to the Western Slope,” he said. “This is a great opportunity to showcase our facilities and our community.”

The first and second rodeo performances are scheduled for 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday, respectively.

On Saturday, the third performance will be at 10 a.m. and the fourth performance at 8 p.m.

The championship round will take place at 10 a.m. Sunday.

By bringing the rodeo to town, Fleming said he hopes athletes and their families will want to come back.

“It’s a real boost for our community,” he said.

More than 110 athletes will compete in events ranging from bronco riding to goat tying.

Vying for a chance to go to nationals, four MCHS athletes on the rodeo team will compete this week.

Representing MCHS will be senior Taylor Vernon, who will try to place in barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, and team and break-away roping.

Freshman Wyatt Uptain, who is coming off an injury, will try his luck in bronco riding, while sophomore Gabbi Steele competes in pole bending, and team and break-away roping.

Junior Ian Duzik will compete in calf roping.

MCHS rodeo coach Janice Edwards said the athletes all have a chance of making it to the national rodeo finals.

“They have been doing really well lately,” she said. “They peaked at the end of the season, and that is really the best time.”

Because the rodeo events are spread over five days, extra events were scheduled to entertain the contestants, Fleming said.

“We have bowling one night and the Craig wave pool for a couple of hours another day,” he said. “There is also a fundraiser golf tournament to help raise money for the cost of operating the rodeo finals.”

The golf tournament, which takes place at 8 a.m. Friday at Yampa Valley Golf Course, is open to the public. The four-person scramble tournament will cost $60 per person and prizes will be given to the top three finishers.

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