ESTES PARK, Colo. – Cowboys and cowgirls know a good thing when they see it.
Just look at Rooftop Rodeo, an Estes Park original set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 5-Monday, July 10, at Granny May Arena in Estes Park. This year, the rodeo features 761 entrants hoping to walk away with the coveted championship.
“This is the second largest entry list we’ve seen in our 91-year history,” said Ben Vigil, president of Estes Park Western Heritage Inc., a group of volunteers that works with the town of Estes Park to produce the annual rodeo. “I think that says something about our rodeo, but more importantly, it says something about Estes Park as such a welcoming community.”
As tourists have known for decades, this community of less than 6,000 has a magnificent history of being accompanying to visitors. Cowboys and cowgirls have learned that, too. Over the last two decades, Rooftop Rodeo has been nominated multiple times for Rodeo of the Year for its size; it boasts of five such titles.
“Some of that has to do with our purse,” said Vigil, noting that there is $62,000 in added money that is mixed with entry fees to make up the total purse. “But we’ve also got a great Colorado stock contractor that does an outstanding job with our rodeo.”
That’s Cervi Rodeo, based just east of Greeley, Colo. The firm has been around for five decades, and the patriarch, Mike Cervi, was a two-time Stock Contractor of the Year in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Now the firm rests firmly in the hands of his sons, Binion and Chase, the latter of whom was named the 2016 Pickup Man of the Year.
“We have a great relationship with the Cervis, and I think they make our rodeo better,” said Mark Purdy, chairman of Western Heritage. “The number of our entries has shot up considerably each of the past three years that the Cervis have been part of Rooftop Rodeo.”
The end result is producing an event that everyone can enjoy. Whether it’s cowboys and cowgirls chasing the big money or the crowd enjoying the antics of funnyman Cliff “Hollywood” Harris to the beauty of the majestic mountains that surround Granny May Arena, there is plenty to offer.
“We want everyone who leaves the arena each night to have thoroughly enjoyed their experience,” Purdy said. “That’s what rodeo is all about.”