Battle in the Saddle at Open Rodeo


Keep calm and hold on! The San Juan County Fair’s first event this year was an open rodeo at McGee Park Memorial Coliseum, an event mostly for beginning competitors to get some “rough-stock” time in like facing down a 2,000-pound bull or a bucking bronc. By Donna K. Hewett. Sponsored by Boons Family Thai Barbecue and Ace Hardware of Farmington

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Keep calm and hold on. An open rodeo is the first event of this year's San Juan County Fair at McGee Park. An open rodeo, primarily for beginning competitors, kids who get in some rough stock time, like facing down a 2000-pound bull or riding a broc bareback. You're watching the Local News Network, brought to you by Boon's Family Thai Barbecue and ACE Hardware of Farmington. I'm Hayley Opsal. Sponsored by SunRay Park Casino, the fair rodeo was all about ropes and reigns, joys and pains. The most popular event is also the most hazardous.

So bull riding is of course everybody's favorite dangerous sport. And we have junior bull riding. And we actually have a lot of junior bull riders this year, a lot more than we've had in 2019. So it's a growing sport, and we encourage everybody to enter.

It's a battle to stay in the saddle. To score high, the competitor must ride a bronc or a bull for eight to 10 seconds.

Takes fierce, takes anger, takes skill, takes strength. To stay on, you got to practice a lot. You got to have leg strength. You got to have the momentum and the wanting to do it. You got to put all your effort into it when you ride.

Technically speaking, a bronc is a wild horse that habitually kicks. And like the bull, they're born that way.

We take them, we raise some, we buy some, we train them, well, we buck them with a dummy when they're little, and if they buck, we keep them, and start hauling them. So they're born to buck. You can't make them buck. If they want buck, they're going to buck. If they don't, they're not going to, just like a horse.

It seems cowboys are born to ride them, as well.

I grew up really wanting to be a cowboy, and we raise animals and stuff, and I thought it was cool. So I tried it about three years ago. First ride, I was just hooked on it.

16-year-old Teryn McWhirter is this year's Colorado state champion in breakaway roping. Working as a team with their horse, the rider must noose a calf in as few seconds as possible. How difficult is it?

I don't really know how to answer that. It's pretty tough. Usually you'll get, if you're five tenths off the winning time, sometimes you won't even get a check.

Life's a rodeo. It brings people together. To enroll in next year's rodeo or to become a sponsor, go to Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I'm Hayley Opsal.


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