ELBERT COUNTY — The 18th annual Ride for the Brand Ranch Rodeo takes place Saturday night in Colorado Springs. Competitors from 10 working ranches in Colorado, Kansas, Texas, and New Mexico will compete.
The cowboys participate in contests that mimic activities that happen routinely on a ranch. Koy Williams and Decky Spiller will be participating with a team from the Kiowa Division of the Silver Spur Ranches in Elbert County.
Spiller said while some contests are exactly the same, the techniques used are identical.
"There are certainly a number of times in any given week where we might have to capture one of these full-grown cows with a rope and horse and lay 'em down and doctor them for a foot-rod or treat them for an eye or whatnot," he said.
"Not very often would we rope one out in the pasture and milk her, but the process is the same."
Williams grew up in a ranching family near Trinidad. He first began competing in rodeos about six years ago and said he was initially nervous about it.
"It was nerve-wracking. I mean it's the same thing you do out in the pasture, all, well not all the time but when something comes up. It's just a little more nerve-wracking because you've got the crowd watching you and you've got a time limit," he said.
Williams plans to enter the steer gathering, branding, and trailer loading contests on Saturday.
Spiller is the ranch foreman for the Kiowa Division of Silver Spur Ranches and will serve as the arena director for the rodeo. He hopes the event will help more Coloradans to connect to the ranching heritage of our state.
"Ranchers in general probably don't do a good job of telling their own story and they probably don't meet the public very often," he said "So, this is a chance for them to mingle with the folks who consume their products."
This rodeo is a charity event. Proceeds benefit local ranchers and their families through the Working Ranch Cowboys Association Foundation's Scholarship Fund, the Cowboy Crisis Fund, and the Wildlife Relief Fund. The ranchers also contribute to local military charities.
Tickets to the rodeo cost $19 for adults. Children ages 12 and under are admitted free with a paying adult. The gates will open at the Norris Penrose Events Center at 4:00 p.m. with the rodeo beginning at 6:00 p.m. A Dance in the Dirt concert featuring Jason Wulf and Friends will begin at 8:00 p.m.