GUNNISON, Colo. – His words were direct, a reflection of the work he’s been doing to not only promote the Cattlemen’s Days celebration but also the service men and women.
“Our Patriot Night is going to be amazing,” said Kevin Coblentz, a longtime member of the volunteer committee that produces the annual exposition. “We have some special things planned for that night, and I can promise you that our opening is going to be powerful.
“Nobody will want to miss this.”
Patriot Night at Cattlemen’s Days PRCA Rodeo begins at 7 p.m. Friday, July 14, at the Fred Field Western Center in Gunnison. All former and active service military will be admitted free, a way the volunteer committee is giving back to those that served.
There are three nights of rodeo, and each has a special event attached to it. The opening night, set for Thursday, July 13, is Pink Night, which honors the legendary status of the Cattlemen’s Days Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign, the largest in ProRodeo. The campaign has raised millions of dollars, which has been utilized locally.
The final performance, set for Saturday, July 15, will honor the Gunnison Ranchland Conservation Legacy, a tip of the cap to the generations of ranching families that have continued to look after this land and their neighbors.
“Our Patriot Night is a way to honor those that have served and sacrificed for our country,” Coblentz said. “It doesn’t matter if they’re from Gunnison or have lived here, we just want to honor them for serving. If they’ve come from anywhere and have served in the U.S. military, then we want to honor them on that Friday night.”
The idea behind Patriot Night was developed several years ago, and Cattlemen’s Days organizers have expanded upon it over time. It’s not just military, Coblentz said. The committee will honor those that serve locally, like police officers, sheriff’s officers, firefighters and ambulance crews.
“Those are the folks that serve this community,” he said. “We’re going to honor Jill Adams, who recently passed away. She was the paramedics captain in Gunnison and had spent 30-plus years as a paramedic. She and people like her are valuable to a community like ours.”
The Gunnison Volunteer Fire Department will be on hand to properly display the giant American flag, and other officers from the various branches will help with aspects of the Friday night production of the rodeo.
“When we salute these heroes and honor our service men and women, we want to do it with purpose and meaning,” Coblentz said. “I promise that this will be a rodeo performance that everybody will want to see, because they’re going to witness something unlike anything ever seen in Gunnison.”