The Cowboy Up in Kiowa celebrated its 20th year of rodeo competition at the Elbert County Fairgrounds over the weekend of June 25.
The competition began on Friday evening with mutton bustin', followed by a full Colorado Pro Rodeo Association performance, including bareback and saddle bronc riding, roping and steer wrestling events, and concluded with bull riding. A concert by the Jake Gill Band wrapped up the evening.
A full day of competition began with Slack and Gymkhana on Saturday morning, which continued into the afternoon. Once again, mutton bustin' got a second CPRA performance started on Saturday evening and the night concluded with Music provided by DJ Worx.
“Our biggest thing is bringing the best show that we can into our community,” said Angelique Dieker, Cowboy Up in Kiowa rodeo production director. “That’s who we have volunteering, people in our community, people who want to be a part of something.”
In 2015, the CPRA honored the Cowboy Up in Kiowa with the Most Improved Rodeo award and Best Super Purse Rodeo of the Year for the past two years.
Dieker attributes the quality of the event to the dedication and hard work of the volunteers.
“It’s all because of the volunteers that we win all the awards,” she said. “Our volunteers pride themselves on making sure our contestants are taken care of, making sure that the community gets involved in our rodeo, and they see the best show that they can. That’s key.”
Volunteers perform a variety of duties, from ticket sales, working the chutes and hosting the contestant hospitality tents.
“We have the best hospitality tent for our contestants of probably any CPRA rodeo,” she said.
Volunteering is not just limited to the adults, and this year’s Cowboy Up drew a record number of younger volunteers.
“We had a lot of kids that stepped up and learned a lot; a lot of new families came in. That was key from a volunteer perspective,” Dieker said.
In addition to the volunteers, 20 years of rodeo in Kiowa would not have been possible without the support of sponsors.
“We’re a total 501(c)(3), so we make absolutely no money on this rodeo,” Dieker said. “If we didn’t have those sponsors and our volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to put on this show that we do. We had some pretty big ones that really stepped up this year.”