Rooftop changes its direction

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Schonholtz takes the control as coordinator of longstanding Rooftop Rodeo

Cindy Schonholtz poses with steer wrestler Rowdy Parrott at a recent rodeo in St. Paul, Oregon. This year will be the first of Schonholtz’s reign as the Rooftop Rodeo coordinator, overseeing all aspects of the annual event in Estes Park, Colorado.

ESTES PARK, Colo. – There is a bit of a cowgirl in everything Cindy Schonholtz does, and it’s guided her back to the Rocky Mountains.

It’s perfectly fitting as she begins her role as the Rooftop Rodeo coordinator, working with the town of Estes Park to help produce one of the greatest annual spectacles in this community. Over the years, Rooftop Rodeo has been an award-winning event tucked at the base of the Rocky Mountain National Park.

“Estes Park is a very special place, and I want everybody to know the history and the Western tradition of Estes Park,” Schonholtz said. “I don’t want that to ever get lost. I think we see that in a lot of mountain towns, where they’re losing their Western heritage. Estes Park has done a great job of keeping it, and I hope to help with that and promote that to the community and visitors alike.”

She knows a thing or two about the Colorado tourist town and knows a lot about rodeo. She served on a volunteer rodeo committee in southern California and was also the director of the Miss Rodeo California pageant until she took a position with the Colorado Springs-based PRCA as the coordinator for animal welfare and membership development in 1998.

While at the PRCA, she created the industry outreach department and served as its director and was also the CEO and president of the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, which provides financial assistance to cowboys that are unable to compete because of injury or any substantial life occurance. She remained in those roles until 2017, when she took over as the general manager of the St. Paul (Oregon) Rodeo.

Over the past few years, she developed a consultant business to assist with rodeo management, which is how she landed at Rooftop Rodeo. Her first year at the helm is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 5-Monday, July 10, at Granny May Arena inside the Estes Park Fairgrounds. She also serves as the general manager of the Redding (California) Rodeo.

“I always expect to have an amazing event,” Schonholtz said. “So much of that has to do with bringing the community, the volunteers, the contestants and the contract personnel into one cohesive unit and celebrate our Western heritage.

“A lot of it is giving back to the community through different charities. I think that’s where the sport of rodeo has so much popularity in today’s time. It’s because of our patriotism and because of our history. Rodeo is back to the basics, supporting the community and the Western legacy.”

That’s the overall point of view. As the point person for an event that features the mixture of family-friendly entertainment and world-class competition, Schonholtz focuses on a simple detail.

“I want every person who comes here to leave with a smile on their face,” she said.

That attention to detail makes all the difference in the world.

Gates for Rooftop Rodeo open at 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 5-Monday, July 10, with the preshow beginning at 6:30 p.m. and the rodeo beginning at 7 p.m. For more information about Rooftop Rodeo, which is a Town of Estes Park signature event, or to order tickets online, log on to Other ticket inquiries may be made by contacting the Town of Estes Park Events office at or (970) 586-6104.


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