Schedule of events for the Colorado State High School Rodeo finals at the Moffat County Fairgrounds:
Wednesday, June 15:
(Time — event)
• 8 a.m. — Check-in
• 7 p.m. — Mandatory rough stock meeting
• 8 p.m. — Mandatory meeting for all contestants
Thursday, June 16:
• 10 a.m. — First performance
• 8 p.m. — Second performance
Friday, June 17:
• 9 a.m. — Cutting
• 11 a.m. — Scholarship interviews
• 1 p.m. — Queen contest
Saturday, June 18:
• 10 a.m. — Third performance
• 8 p.m. — Fourth performance
Sunday, June 19:
• 10 a.m. — Championship round
• 2 p.m. — Awards dinner
• 11 and older — $20*
• 10 and under — free
• Senior citizens — free
• Junior High rodeo members — free (w/ back number)
*Wristband, one time charge for all performances
For the second year in a row, the Moffat County Fairgrounds will host the Colorado State High School Rodeo finals.
From June 15 to 19, 111 of the state’s top rodeo athletes will compete for a chance to make the Colorado state team and compete in a national competition.
Four Moffat County High School athletes will compete — Wyatt Uptain, Garrett Buckley, Ian Duzik and Taylor Duzik.
Uptain and Buckley will compete in saddle bronc riding, Ian will compete in team and tie-down roping, and Taylor will compete in breakaway roping.
The team’s coach, Janice Edwards, said all four local participants have a shot at making it to nationals.
“Garrett and Wyatt have a great chance and Ian and Taylor will have some work to do, but anyone can make it,” she said. “I will be surprised if Garrett and Wyatt don’t qualify.
To qualify for the national rodeo July 17 to 23 in Gillette, Wyo., athletes must place in the top four in their event during the state rodeo.
Uptain will be ranked second in saddle bronc riding heading into state and Buckley will be fourth.
Casey Barnes was slated to compete at state, but broke his leg earlier in the season and will not be able to participate.
“Casey was the front runner for rookie of the year, so hopefully he can keep that without competing,” Edwards said. “When we only have a five-person team, missing one hurts, but I think we will do just fine.”
The team’s last competition was June 4 through 6 in Monte Vista. To keep on track for state, Edwards said her athletes train a lot on their own.
“The kids know what they have to do to get themselves and their horses in shape for competition,” she said. “They all have equipment at home so they can at least get some practice in without us all meeting.”
With the state finals being the only home competition of the year, Edwards said it brings a “comfort” to the performances.
“I don’t know if being at home is an advantage, but it is nice to perform in front of the home crowd,” she said. “Instead of traveling seven hours to compete, we can do it right here and I think that helps the kids in their performances.”
Dave Fleming, a former MCHS rodeo coach and an organizer who helped bring the state rodeo finals to Craig, said after the 2010 state finals, he heard almost all positive comments.
“Everyone seemed to be happy with how we ran things in our first year,” he said. “All our major sponsors who helped last year agreed to do it again this year, and I think it will again be a success.”
The Moffat County Tourism Association donated $5,000 both years and the City of Craig donated another $2,500 each year to help bring the state finals to Craig.
Fleming said organizers needed $12,000 each year to bring the rodeo to town.
“About $2,000 of the $12,000 needed goes toward saddles for all-around athletes and the other $10,000 goes toward the scholarship fund,” he said. “The money isn’t for the Colorado State High School Rodeo, but it is donated to go back to the kids.”
This year, Colorado Northwestern Community College donated $2,000 to go toward purchases of the two saddles for the all-around athletes.
CNCC officials will also be attending the rodeo, Fleming said, to recruit for the school’s newly formed rodeo team at the Rangely campus.
“Mesa State came last year to recruit and said they might join CNCC this year,” Fleming said. “This is a great chance for kids who want to continue pursuing rodeo to get noticed by college teams.”
As for the local economy, Fleming said it’s estimated the state rodeo brings $25,000 to $30,000 to the community.
“During the spring, all the rodeos are on the eastern part of the state, so those kids don’t get to see the Western Slope,” he said. “We have 111 kids, their parents and other family members coming to Craig for five days. They are going to have to spend money.”
With the success the state rodeo had last year, Fleming said Moffat County has been asked to put a bid in for the 2012 and 2013 state rodeos.
“We should know by next week if we won the bid,” he said.