Rodeo camp gives Moffat County youth a taste of the arena | CraigDailyPress.com

Rodeo camp gives Moffat County youth a taste of the arena

Nate Waggenspack

Garrett Anson practices on the bull-riding barrel Saturday at the Moffat County Fairgrounds. As part of the Wild West Weekend in Craig, the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association hosted a rodeo camp at the fairgrounds to show technique and safety to some future cowboys.

With so much rodeo happening this weekend it made sense to give the local youths — who could be state champs in the junior high or high school rodeo circuit someday — their turn.

But it's not the smartest idea to put an 8-year-old on a bucking animal when they've never been there before. So as part of Wild West Weekend, the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association put on a rodeo camp at the Moffat County Fairgrounds on Saturday.

"We wanted to get kids involved with rodeo, with rough stock events," said Tyler Smith, a PRCA member there teaching children about bull riding. "We're showing them the right way to do it."

For the rodeo camp, PRCA broke out a few apparatuses that can help simulate bull riding, bronc riding and saddle bronc. The bull riding station had kids sit on a barrel on one end of a see-saw, where they would then be moved up and down, to get a feel for the rhythm and technique behind the sport.

That way, participants can have their introduction to the sport, or older members can get expert instruction, while still doing so in a safe manner, which is also safer for the animals.

"Our thing is equipment, safety, the chute procedure," Smith said. "Hopefully we can show them that stuff and save 'em a lot of bumps and bruises. Our safety is pretty much (the animals') safety too. What we do around them and while they're in the chutes is all about safety for both."

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A group of local and visiting youth was at the fairgrounds all morning and afternoon Saturday, learning the ropes about rough stock. The camp did give kids a chance to see what sitting on a live animal in the chutes would be like, but once again with safety a primary focus.

"We bring live animals in and they can get on and off of them in the chutes," said Tonya Knez, who helped bring PRCA to Craig for the camp. "But they're not bucking animals, they're broken in. It's just to get a feel for what sitting there can be like."