Yampa River Ranch Rodeo kicks off in Craig

Patrick Kelly
Alex Christofferson, of Spanishfork, Utah, catches some air with Little Suzy.
Patrick Kelly

Moffat County Fairgrounds’ bleachers were full on Friday evening as crowds gathered for the first night of cowboy revelry at the Yampa River Ranch Rodeo.

The rodeo kicked off at 6:30 p.m. with the first round of the Iron Man Ranch Bronc Riding circuit. Qualifying riders will compete in additional rounds on Saturday to determine a winner.

Saturday’s events also will feature big loop team roping, loading and tying, rustler’s relay and women’s steer stopping, all of which act as qualifiers for the season finals of the Western Ranch Rodeo Association.

Candice Wagstrom travelled 11 hours to Craig from Ainsworth, Nebraska, with her boyfriend, TeJay Fenster, who is competing in the bronc riding circuit.

“I come to Watch TeJay,” she said.

Sometimes Wagstrom gets nervous. But she said it’s the same as being on the ranch — if you have a bucking horse, you have to be careful or you will get hurt.

Fenster has been breaking colts since he was 10-years-old, Wagstrom said.

“It’s our lifestyle.”

Cedar Mountain Lions Club set up a food truck at the event and will be donating their profits to charity.

Tony Maneotis, president of the Lions, said events such as this one are the primary ways the Lions raises money and it has been very successful in the past.

Beer was provided thanks to a special events liquor license obtained by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265. The VFW will also be donating their proceeds, said VFW Commander Johnny Garcia.

“Everything we make, we’ll give away,” he said.

Tickets for Saturday’s events are $5 apiece at gate, or a weekend pass for a family of four is available at Murdoch’s for $20.

Reach Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or Follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.

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