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Canyonlands Rodeo Committee

Bringing The Wild West to Moab:
The Canyonlands Rodeo Committee

By by Ann Stewart

It’s impressive how a small non-profit club in Moab can create a major event involving animals, people, clowns, parades, queens, and good family fun. The Canyonlands Rodeo Committee is just such an example of volunteers doing big things.

In the early days the Sheriff’s Posse sponsored the Moab Rodeo. Then in 1988 Moab joined the big time by becoming affiliated with the PRCA, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys of America. With this professional affiliation, Moab’s small rodeo committee can bring first class animals, cowgirls, and cowboys to town.

Kent Green, President of the Canyonlands Rodeo Committee, says they have two goals. To provide Moab with good family fun and to be voted the “best small town rodeo in America” by the cowboys who participate. The rodeo is also a popular tourist attraction especially with foreign visitors.

One can see why rodeo time is popular. Many activities occur both before and during the Rodeo which will be June 9, 10, and 11 at the Spanish Trail Arena. Cricket Green, Kent’s wife, heads the Rodeo Queen selection committee. Judges are brought in from out of town. The contestants give speeches, answer questions and ride their horses, to determine who will be the 2005 Rodeo Queen. The public can attend the screening at Star Hall the morning of May 7 to watch the women perform.

Then the excitement really begins. The rodeo starts on Thursday, June 9. On Saturday, the selected Queen and the Rodeo Grand Marshall lead the Rodeo Parade through Moab. Floats, horses and riders in Western regalia, clowns and music set the stage for the final day of competition.

Children love to go to the rodeo, and the Rodeo Committee orchestrates events in the arena to keep them entertained. Many world class cowboys and cowgirls entertain the audience with traditional events such as calf roping, barrel racing, bronco, and bull riding. Between these exciting events, the clowns, the local Red Rock Riders Equestrian Drill Team, or the Mutton Busters, (small kids who try to ride the sheep), may perform. A dance contest for children is also held.

Just thinking of the organization to bring off so many events is enough to make your head spin. And it’s all done by volunteers. First, the committee must be assured that it has the needed $32-33,000 it takes to create the events. They hire the Bar-T Rodeo stock contractor to bring in good, consistent stock to ride and rope. Prime stock is a very expensive commodity. The cowboys like coming to a rodeo which uses good, well cared for stock. By choosing Bar T, the Moab committee can attract first class riders. To insure the safety of the animals, volunteer veterinarian Len Sorenson is in attendance.

Purse money is a big part of the cost the committee must pay. The winner of each of the seven major events wins $1000. In addition, PRCA judges and an announcer must be paid. The Queen and her attendants win gifts.

The money for the budget comes from local sponsors who get good advertising via banners carried in the parade and during drills in the Spanish Valley Arena. Large donors get a banner at the chute where a big event erupts. For example, the announcer says, “Out of the Red Cliffs chute come the bull riders!” Everyone looks that way. In addition to commercial sponsors the Moab Recreation Board provides some start-up funds as does the Moab Travel Council and Grand County. Last year, due to good management, the Rodeo Committee was able to return $9000 to the Recreation Board. The Rotary Club and the Chamber of Commerce also get involved helping with the parade. A raffle and entrance fees help make up the necessary budget.

Each aspect of this major event in Moab takes planning and lots of energy. Most of the volunteers are working members of the community, who devote their spare time to this project. The Canyonlands Rodeo Committee is a non-profit club whose purpose is to bring an outstanding rodeo to Moab. Many long-time residents are involved. Kent Green, the President, is a deputy sheriff (his dad was the deputy sheriff of San Juan County for many years). Cricket Green is the queen selection coordinator. (Her grandfather owned the Red Cliff Ranch). Josh Green, the son, handles the sound system at the arena, and daughter AmAsie, a former rodeo queen, helps out. Cliff Eggling is Treasurer and Sarah White is Secretary. Many other local residents volunteer for the myriad jobs that come up as the rodeo approaches. They handle the gates, take tickets, host the cowboys and cowgirls in a VIP room, help the rodeo sponsors meet the cowboys, and organize the parade.

The closer the time comes to the rodeo, the more help the committee can use. Anyone interested in becoming involved as a volunteer for the Canyonlands Rodeo should call Kent Green at 435-259-7089.

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