It may not be Labor Day or the Fourth of July, but it is time to get your belt buckles and cowboy hats out â€˜cause the rodeo is in town.
Friday will mark the 61st Annual Skyline Stampede, which is hosted by the Colorado State Rodeo Team and one of the largest and longest running rodeos at the collegiate level in the country.
The Skyline Stampede was the first collegiate rodeo in history, and has been hosted annually by CSU.
â€œThis marks 61 years of competing collegiately at the national level and being a competitive school and really striving for excellence in the rodeo arena,â€ President and Senior Team Roper Sina Parsaye said on what this particular rodeo means to CSU and the Rodeo Team.
CSU rodeo is the universityâ€™s largest club team on campus, being made up of roughly 40 members that compete in nine events. The team has about 25 active members of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association that compete in the 10 NIRA sanctioned rodeos, having the Skyline Stampede being the grand daddy of them all.
This yearâ€™s team is considered a very young one with around 15 new freshmen. Though a young team, experience levels range from just a couple years all the way to 16 or more years in the ring. Despite age or experience, to the team members, this is not so much a sport but a lifestyle.
â€œSomething that you love, this is my passion, this is what I hope to be involved in the rest of my life,â€ Parsaye said.
Fourteen collegiate teams are expected to be participating in this yearâ€™s events, including the host, CSU. Teams competing range all the way from junior colleges up to D-I universities. Unlike most rodeos, because the CSU rodeo team is a club team, they have to put the entire event on by themselves.
â€œItâ€™s been kind of chaotic. Itâ€™s been a lot of work,â€ Rodeo team secretary Lindsey Leatherman said on preparing everything for this weekendâ€™s events.
The Rams scored well in last weekâ€™s rodeo at Eastern Wyoming College, in what should have been a good warm up for this weekend.
Despite having to set up the entire event, the team is ready for their seventh rodeo of the year.
â€œLast weekend we did really good,â€ said freshman Kayla Tisdall. â€œAnd I think weâ€™re all going to do really well in the Stampede.â€
The Skyline Stampede begins tonight at 7 p.m. and concludes with the championship round at 10 a.m. on Sunday at B.W. Equine Center. Even though it is a full-on rodeo, the team invites people who arenâ€™t familiar with the sport to come out and support the event.
â€œItâ€™s not hard to understand. You donâ€™t have to know the rules like other sports. You just watch and the fastest person wins, or the best rider scores highest,â€ Tisdall said.
Sports reporter David De Besche can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.