LAS VEGAS – The rodeo with altitude just climbed a little higher.
The Rooftop Rodeo of Estes Park, Colo., was recognized as one of the top five medium rodeos in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association during the organization’s annual awards banquet, which took place Wednesday, Dec. 2, in conjunction with the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
“This is a huge honor for us as a rodeo committee and for the Town of Estes Park,” said Mark Purdy, chairman of Estes Park Western Heritage Inc., a group of volunteers that produces the annual rodeo. “We’ve made a number of significant changes the last few years, and there have been many people work very hard to make our rodeo one of the best.
“This symbolizes all that.”
This isn’t the first time the Rooftop Rodeo has been honored by the PRCA; for the last few years, it has been a finalist for the Medium Size Rodeo of the Year, which is for events that offer committee purses between $3,000-$9,000 per event. For many years prior, the Rooftop Rodeo was a regular fixture among the elite small rodeos, which offers purses of less than $3,000 per event.
In fact, the Estes Park rodeo – which takes place in early July every year – is a five-time winner of the PRCA Small Rodeo of the Year, having earned the honor in 2003, 2006 and 2008-10.
“It was a major change for us to increase the purse at our rodeo when we made the decision a few years ago,” said Ben Vigil, president of Western Heritage. “We know our place as a destination community for tourists, and we also want to be a destination rodeo for cowboys.”
The award was voted on by PRCA members, most of whom are contestants.
“This recognition is extremely special to us because of who voted on it,” Purdy said. “Our goals each year is to have a great event for our community, for the people who come to our community and for the cowboys and cowgirls that pay an entry fee in order to compete in Estes Park. We want to make it special to each and every one of them.”