Back in the Saddle

Get ready to saddle up. The Ignacio School District has relaunched its Rodeo Club, offering students a unique opportunity to hone their skills in various rodeo events. You’re watching the “Local NEWS Network,” brought to you by Tafoya Barrett and Associates and Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers. I’m Sadie Smith. Unlike traditional competitive teams, the Ignacio Rodeo Club focuses on providing a supportive environment for students to train with their experienced coaches. Students can then take their skills to individual rodeo competitions where they can showcase their talents.

The Ignacio Rodeo Club is a extracurricular club that the school district just brought back. It originally started back in the ’60s and they had a lot of competitors that were also part of Basin Rodeo Team, and it fizzled out after we had some graduates back in 2017, 2018. And then when I started at the district, I decided to bring the Rodeo Club back, and now we have roughly 10 to 15 athletes that come join us once a week for practice.

The Ignacio Rodeo Club provides an opportunity for kids in La Plata County to practice their skills across a range of rodeo events. Whether it’s roping, barrel racing, or rough stock riding, the Club offers opportunities for kids at every level to participate, learn, and grow.

We have a good mix of events that our students participate in. We have a lot of barrel racers, we help with pole bending, a lot of breakaway roping, and we also have bull riders that are in middle school. So we’re building up our program, which is super exciting.

The Ignacio Rodeo Club distinguishes itself from a conventional high school rodeo team in its approach. Rather than competing as a collective unit, members of the club engage in enriching practice sessions tailored to enhance their skills. These sessions serve as a valuable opportunity for students to hone their abilities, equipping them to participate in rodeo competitions independently should they choose to do so.

Our program is a little different than regular high school rodeo in the fact that we aren’t sending students to compete in high school rodeo. We’re simply giving them an opportunity to get some time in the arena, some practice under their belt. We bring in experts within each sport. We have breakaway coaches, barrel coaches, and we also have rough stock coaches that these kids get the opportunity to learn from someone who’s done it and better their skill before they go to their next rodeo.

The Ignacio Rodeo Club extend its reach far beyond the borders of Ignacio, welcoming students from across La Plata County, spanning from fifth to 12th grade. Within its diverse membership, participants range from seasoned rodeo competitors to those taking their first steps in the saddle. The club also offers opportunities for students who may not ride but are eager to contribute, allowing them to volunteer in various capacities, such as assisting with shoe operations and supporting fellow members. This volunteer work fosters a sense of community and teamwork, and it also counts towards the community service hours required for high school graduation, providing students with a meaningful way to give back while also pursuing their passion for rodeo.

It’s open to anyone in La Plata County and Archuleta County. We don’t want to turn anyone away. We want to grow the sport. That’s ultimately why we started the club up again. We want to give every student an opportunity that they can come practice, they can come watch, they can come help run calves through a shoot. We want everyone to know that rodeo is its own community. We’re all a family, and we always have our arms open to everyone that wants to come join.

This program is dedicated to supporting La Plata County’s rural community in fostering the growth and character development of its athletes through rodeo. If you are someone you know is interested in participating, the club holds practice every Friday evening at the Sky Ute Downs Event Center in Ignacio. For more information about this and other stories, visit Thank you for watching this edition of The “Local NEWS Network.” I’m Sadie Smith.

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