Longer than an 8-second ride

Colorado State High School Rodeo Association saddles up for it’s 69th year

Honoring the only major competitive sport that has evolved from a working lifestyle — and the cowboys, cowgirls, horses and livestock that make it legendary, the nonprofit Colorado State High School Rodeo Association (CSHSRA) is stewarding this unique Western tradition for young people in the state.

It’s what would be known today as a true “community of interest”, celebrating a niche sport and lifestyle. Bull riding, saddlebronc riding, bareback riding, barrel racing, breakaway roping, bulldogging and steer roping are among the competition events, which the CSHSRA puts on 11 weekends a year for kids from 14 counties.

Since 1954, the CSHSRA has been holding rodeos to give Colorado youth opportunities to both compete and socialize. Rodeos take place in Eagle, Mesa, Garfield, Montezuma and Moffat counties. The organization’s members come from these five counties, with visiting members from Rio Blanco, Montrose, Delta, Gunnison, Grand, Routt, Summit, Saguache and Montezuma counties.

Coordinating events, competitors and livestock is a monumental job, but association president Jim Ward and secretary Sherri Schlegel wouldn’t have it any other way.“We do it to provide young people in Colorado with a place to rodeo,” says Sherri, who has been secretary of CSHSRA for a noteworthy 15 years. “Some of the money we raise goes to state finals. It provides scholarships for our college-bound seniors, too.”

As for Jim, he feels called to educate youth on the sport. “I love the association, and I make things happen for the kids,” he says. Indeed, he does. Two of Jim’s past athletes, Yampa’s Jace Logan and Keenan Hayes of Hayden, were 2019 national champions in steer wrestling and bareback riding, respectively, and both from Routt County. The two are currently professional rodeo athletes competing on a global stage.

Adonna Allen was born and raised in Routt County, and in addition to being a rodeo mom she’s the market president of Alpine Bank Steamboat Springs/Summit County. Her son Levi has been competing in CSHSRA events for years and is bound for Grand Junction’s Colorado Mesa University this fall, where he’ll be a member of the Mavericks’ rodeo team.

“I’m excited because he’s going to be close! I’m super supportive of the high school rodeo association because it’s been such a positive community, full of fellowship and grit,” says Adonna. She reflects on the success of Jace, Keenan, her son Levi and other past participants with CHSRA. “These kids are successful, and for the most part they don’t get the same attention as other high school sports and athletes. That’s part of why it’s important to keep the program relevant.”

Learn more at cshsra.org.

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Alpine Bank Staff

Alpine Bank is an independent, employee-owned organization with headquarters in Glenwood Springs and banking offices across Colorado’s Western Slope, mountains and Front Range.

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