GUNNISON, Colo. – For the people in Gunnison County, some of their greatest experiences every year happen at Cattlemen’s Days.
Organizers of this year’s rodeo – set for Thursday, July 11-Saturday, July 13, at Fred Field Western Heritage Center in Gunnison – are planning something spectacular for all three nights of the PRCA rodeo.
“We wanted to give the folks that come to our rodeo something special, and I think we’re doing that with the Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls,” said Kevin Coblentz, president of the volunteer committee that produces Cattlemen’s Days. “Their brand of entertainment is pretty incredible. The girls are fantastic trick riders and trick ropers, and they really know how to entertain a crowd.”
Each girl on the team is a product of the Riata Ranch Youth Horsemanship clinics, and those chosen for the team go through an extensive program that focuses on all the physical attributes that promote positive life skills.
For people in Gunnison, it is a true display of showmanship.
“We don’t just trick ride or rope,” said Jennifer Welch Nicholson, who runs the operation. “We actually work with choreography, so we have a full production. We really work on timing and production and making the show make sense to the audience.
“We combine the trick riding, roping and roman riding in one sequence.”
That combination has earned the Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls grand acclaim. They are known worldwide for their work and have traveled to 18 countries – and all across the United States – performing. Being a four-time nominee for the PRCA’s dress act award is a tremendous honor for her and the rest of the team.
“It’s wonderful to think that our peers think enough of our show to nominate us,” Welch Nicholson said. “There’s a lot of great talent out there.
“I’m very happy for the girls who put in their time and the hard work, because what we do takes a lot of hard work and dedication.”
It also provides a great deal of entertainment to rodeo fans.
“We’re very excited to have the Riata girls in Gunnison,” Coblentz said. “They add so much to the rodeo. Combining their talents with the rodeo and with our clown, John Harrison, is just going to make the whole experience better for everyone who comes to the rodeo.”