GUNNISON, Colo. – The goal each year for the annual Cattlemen’s Days PRCA Rodeo committee is to produce the best event possible for the fans, contestants and sponsors.
Consider the 2019 celebration a success. During the Mountain States Circuit Finals Rodeo the final weekend of October, voters selected Gunnison’s popular event as the Medium Rodeo of the Year in the region made up of contestants and events primarily in Colorado and Wyoming.
“This is a big deal for us, because it represents all the hard work our volunteers have done over the years and, especially, this past year,” said Kevin Coblentz, president of the volunteer committee. “We have many longtime sponsors that step up every year, and when we decided to increase our ‘added money’ this year, they stood by us.
“This award is a testament to everybody in our community.”
“Added money” in rodeo refers to the local organizers’ financial commitment to the payout for cowboys and cowgirls. In the case of Cattlemen’s Days, the committee offered $5,000 per event ($10,000 in team roping) that is added to the contestants’ entry fees to make up the overall purse.
That made for a significant increase. Jacob Edler, for example, pocketed $2,017 this past July for winning the steer wrestling title; a year ago, Payden McIntyre earned a little more than $1,700.
But that’s just part of what was offered in Gunnison, where the committee has long been recognized as one of the most hospitable in the country. From offering free hay to stalls to making sure cowboys and cowgirls feel at home, the Cattlemen’s Days volunteers go above and beyond to make sure every detail is handled.
“It’s pretty awesome for a committee to go above and beyond for us cowboys,” McIntyre said in 2018. “It’s real nice to come down here and have a lot of people appreciate when you do well.
“This is an awesome community, and it’s a good place to relax and hang out. The hospitality has been great, and they’ve taken care of us. We haven’t won a lot of money the last few weeks, so if somebody will feed you for free, you can’t complain about that.”
It’s comments like those that serve as a benefit to the members of the committee.
“We always appreciate the contestants that vote for us, and we really appreciate the support and constant positive feedback,” Coblentz said. “We really want any feedback we can get, though, because we will continue to try to improve Cattlemen’s Days to the point where it is considered one of the top rodeos in the country.”