The Sopris Sun

Carbondale’s Wild West Rodeo: It’s a family tradition!

By the Turnbull Family

Of all Carbondale’s many celebrations and traditions, the Wild West Rodeo stands out as a huge testimony to the agricultural way of life that has long been a part of this valley. The dedication of the large number of volunteers and the board to put on a weekly event during the summer is truly remarkable and we salute each and every one.

The original Rodeo Club, which started in 1948, enjoyed much success and fun as they put on an annual Potato Days rodeo for the community. When Dave and Lisa Weimer moved here a number of years ago they were inspired to bring new energy to this long standing tradition. Dave along with Mike Kennedy & Melanie Cardiff and a number of others, began the summer rodeo series and it continues now under the present board of Mike, Melanie and Tom Harrington.

The Wild West Rodeo brings the community together to celebrate our western traditions and agricultural heritage and many of today’s contestants in the rodeo enjoy the sport that represents the way of life of their grandparents. This is true for much of our Spanish speaking community as well. Rural roots and traditions run strong.

Our family enjoys the rodeo and all the traditions it represents and this past year we were looking for a way to honor Bob and Ditty Perry who ranched here on the Mt. Sopris Hereford Ranch for 65 years. They, like so many others, worked hard to make this community what it is today and we wanted to do something that would honor all those hardy souls who have gone on but are not forgotten. The arena is named for Gus Darien, a wonderful old time local rancher who put in countless hours for the rodeo as well as serving on the town’s council and clinic boards. When we were asked “Who was Gus”?, we realized Carbondale’s agricultural past needed to be shared.

The suggestion of a picnic pavilion at the rodeo grounds seemed perfect as the arena sees both summer and winter use and what better way to bring people together than to have a place to sit down and enjoy food and company. With many many thanks to Travis Jadwin and his Silverado crew the pavilion is ready. There will soon be a fire pit for the winter skating groups and the three historical panels are now in place. We hope by adding the opportunity for our agricultural history to be displayed everyone will feel a stronger connection to all those who loved this valley long before we knew it.

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The Mt. Sopris Historical Society’s director Beth White would like to have a forum to display some of the many great photographs they have in their collection and hopefully there will be others who will contribute to the display.

None of this would have come about without the amazing organization and persistence of Sherry Rubin who helped take this project from dream to reality and we can’t begin to thank her!

“THANK YOU SHERRY!” We thank all those who contributed their time and efforts to make it come true.

Thank you Tim Hagman for your architectural rendition, SGM for your engineering help, Eric Brendlinger for your winter use suggestions and Steve Groom for your great care of the rodeo grounds. Special thanks to you Travis and everyone from Silverado who worked hard to get this ready on time. It was nice to know that Bryan Brown of Hi Con Concrete and Casey’s Concrete did the cement work as Bryan himself is a rodeo contestant every week. Thank you Bill Rice for fabricating those great display panels, Garett from Artisan Fine Finishing for painting, Jon White for your fire pit and beautiful weathervane additions, and to Tyler Stableford, Sally Norwood, Becky Young, Cody Griebel, George Hendrix and Shawn Tolle for your photos and mounting contributions which will soon be on display.

Our greatest hope is that the picnic pavilion will get lots of use and will remind us all of our families and friends and our western traditions and heritage.

Cheers to the “Wild West “ crew, and here’s to a great summer of rodeo!