For the last month, organizers of the San Miguel Basin Rodeo, which is held at the fairgrounds in Norwood, have wondered how they can sustain the Western heritage event that is more than a century old. Rising costs to produce the event have been a problem made worse by decreased attendance the last few years.
At a June 5 planning meeting, rodeo committees were formed and a brainstorming session generated several suggestions. Now, some of those ideas are coming to fruition, enabling the rodeo to continue.
Local cowgirl Liz Foley suggested at the that meeting some sort of transportation that connects both ends of the county for the rodeo weekend, July 26-27. She said a shuttle is needed from Telluride to Norwood to encourage attendance and beer consumption.
After that meeting, Foley was able to speak to Telluride Express officials, and now the company will be providing two buses both nights of the rodeo. Two 50-passenger vans will be trucking folks to and from the fairgrounds.
The shuttles leave Telluride at 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. Additional shuttles will take people back up the hill when the rodeo is over.
“So they can get on the bus and get ready and have a good time,” Foley said. “They can have beers and not worry about the cops coming down on them, and they can support the 115-year-old rodeo.”
Foley said rodeo organizers are very appreciative of Telluride Express’ efforts.
“We asked them to help save the rodeo, and that’s what they’re doing,” she said. “They were supportive.”
Now, she hopes east end county residents will take advantage and support the rodeo.
Additionally, after the June 5 planning meeting, local horseman and farrier Talon Thompson communicated with Madison Shambaugh (“Mustang Maddy”), and she has agreed to perform at the rodeo this year.
Mustang Maddy is an advocate for the American Mustang and a professional horse trainer who travels the U.S. giving clinics and participating in training competitions. She lives in Ridgway and has given performances in Norwood in the past.
Maddy will perform in short segments both nights of rodeo this year.
Jordan Williams, who is a card-carrying Colorado Professional Rodeo Association member working to save the rodeo in Norwood, said sponsorships for this year’s event are coming along. She said hosting the rodeo this year may not have happened if the sponsorships were not rolling in like they are now.
“Altogether it’s been an outpouring of community support. It’s all so appreciated. It’s been the difference of putting on a rodeo or not,” she said.
Williams said new sponsors have come forward, and previous sponsors have upped their pledges. She said currently the committees are still working on finalizing the remaining support the rodeo needs.
Also, Norwood Park and Recreation District board member Daiva Chesonis told The Norwood Post recently that her organization is working to organize an after-rodeo dance party for July 27. She said the dance would happen at the Livery, since the The Hitchin’ Post is no longer open.
Chesonis said the rodeo dance would likely start at 9:30 p.m., and that a spokesperson from the NPRD board was searching for a band to play.
At the same time, an anonymous rodeo supporter is working to secure the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band to play post-rodeo. She said she was unsure if she could successfully book the band and did not want to be credited at this time.