Rodeo at 6 p.m. Saturday, concert with Jason Boland and the Stragglers at 8 p.m., Norris-Penrose Event Center, 1045 Lower Gold Camp Road, $22-$42, free general admission for 12 and younger, $20 for reserved box for 12 and younger, $30-$70 VIP, $60 meet-and-greet with Boland; rideforthebrand ranchrodeo.com
Something else: Longhorn cattle drive, noon Friday, south along Tejon Street from Colorado College to Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum; Bourbon and Bands, with bourbon tastes from local distilleries, live music and auction, 6 p.m. Friday, $5
This isn’t your typical rodeo.
Ride for the Brand Ranch Rodeo doesn’t feature cowboy and cowgirl superstars from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Nay, the cowfolk you’ll see compete Saturday at Norris Penrose Event Center are the real deal — authentic, working cowboys from ranches in Colorado and around the country.
The rodeo, sanctioned by the Working Ranch Cowboys Association, was started in 2002 to promote ranching locally and regionally.
“WRCA’s mission is to preserve the lifestyle of the working ranch cowboy,” said Rodeo Co-chairman Zack Bender.
The event is Saturday at Norris-Penrose Event Center. Popular Red Dirt country band Jason Boland and the Stragglers will perform after the rodeo. This is also the event that brings the annual longhorn cattle drive to downtown. Beginning at noon Friday, the animals will meander south on Tejon Street from Colorado College to the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, where they’ll hang out for about an hour for photo opportunities. A Bourbon and Bands tasting event Friday night features live music and an auction.
Last year’s rodeo attracted about 2,500 fans who got a chance to watch teams of four compete in contests such as ranch bronc riding, wild cow milking, stray gathering and team banding. The last event of the evening — trailer loading — is a crowd-pleaser.
“We put the trailer in the arena. You’ve got cattle numbered 1 to 12,” said rodeo co-chairman Bob Book. “The announcer calls a number, and you have to sort that cow out, rope it, drag it to the trailer, load it, put the horses in, shut the doors, and all the cowboys have to be in the seat of the pickup, and that ends the time. If you do it in a minute, that’s pretty competitive.”
Each team pays $1,000 to enter the rodeo, and the top three teams at the end of the night split the $12,000 purse, with the top team getting the largest chunk. Proceeds from the event benefit local ranchers and their families through the WRCA Foundation’s crisis, wildfire and scholarship funds.
“This ranch rodeo showcases what really happens on a ranch,” said Bender. “It seems silly when you listen to a description of trailer loading, but it’s all done for time. A group of workmen that’s really successful at home would be really successful in the arena.”
JENNIFER MULSON, THE GAZETTE, 636-0270, JEN.MULSON@GAZETTE.COM