The Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo has been a rip-snortin' local sports tradition since 1937, and founder Spencer Penrose stipulated a special legacy: The rodeo proceeds would support the area's military and their families.
Penrose died in 1939, and by 1946 the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Foundation was in place to continue carrying out his wishes.
Now, 71 years later, the foundation oversees the charitable work behind the rodeo and events Ride for the Brand Ranch Rodeo, Blue Jeans & Brass Gala, and Cowgirls against Cancer and its Cowgirls & Cocktails. In addition, it is continuing the Western rodeo heritage at Norris-Penrose Event Center, which is completing a capital campaign for a major expansion of the expo and conference facility adjacent to the rodeo arena.
As Penrose had planned, rodeo proceeds continue to go to the military. There are also special military nights at the annual event and tickets to the rodeo.
The Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Board, El Pomar Foundation and the Rodeo Foundation celebrated the year with sponsors and military representatives recently, passing out checks at Penrose Heritage Museum, where the Penrose race cars and vehicles are on display.
Retired Gen. Kevin Chilton called up senior enlisted NCOs from 10 facilities, who described how their part of the $130,000 raised would be used. Emergency funds, holiday meals, programs for families with deployed members, special family events and "getting families in need through Christmas" were descriptions that came with the thank yous.
Rodeo Foundation head Scott Bryan said, "The reason we work as hard as we do on the rodeo, no amount of money can measure up to the gratitude we have for our military."
Rodeo Foundation board members, along with Bryan and Chilton, are honorary life chair Bill Tutt, Rick Powell, incoming president Mike Jorgensen, Rich Bender, Jerry Biggs, Ralph Braden, Gary Markle, Bob Norris and Bobby Norris.
The 2017 Rodeo Board: Chair Gene Renuart, incoming president Jeff Renehan, Grant Adkisson, Rick Powell, John Baily, Scot Cuthbertson, Dan Ferguson, Don Johnson, Scott Johnson, Kevin Kaveney, Mike McCoy, Brad Renehan, Jim Scherr and Scott Stuart.
Photo gallery: gazette.com/life/around-town