Montrose County Fair and Rodeo.

Montrose County Fair and Rodeo. 

The Colorado Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) state finals kick-off this weekend at the Montrose County Fairgrounds and Event Center.

“This is our 43rd annual CPRA finals rodeo,” said Don Scanga, president of CPRA. “We have about 500 members state wide and hold about 33 rodeos per summer all over the state of Colorado. There are nine different events and the top 12 money earners in each of those events earns a trip to the finals that we’re holding this year at the Montrose Event Center.”

The event starts Friday at 7 p.m. with the grand entry and rodeo performance, “Military Appreciation.” Attendees are encouraged to wear red in honor of the military. Saturday, the event starts at 7 p.m. and the championship event starts at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

“This is the first time that the Pro Rodeo Finals have been held in Montrose and the first time we’ve hosted a true traditional rodeo in the events center,” said Emily Sanchez, the Fairgrounds and Event Center director. “People are going to be really close to the action in the arena and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

This year’s events include bareback bronc riding, barrels, break-away roping, bull riding, mixed team roping, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, team penning and tie down roping. Scanga said that what makes the CPRA different are the events geared toward women.

“The mix-team roping and ladies breakaway roping are the two events that we have geared toward women,” said Scanga. “Both are exciting and we have current and past world champions from the Women’s Team Roping Association (WTRA) competing with us.”

Scanga said the finals rodeo has other top contenders participating in the team roping and two of the best bullfighters in the state of Colorado.

“The rodeo is giving away about $50,000 in awards,” said Scanga. “We give buckles for year-end champions as well as saddles. We also take pride in the animals that we use year round in the rodeo. We vote and have horses of the year and bulls of the year that are awarded to the contractors there at the rodeo. We take just as much pride in the animals as we do in the people that are in the rodeo.”

Recognizing everyone that makes the rodeo possible is important to Scanga. He said that everyone is voted in, from the judges to the timers, and that it brings together some of the best in the state.

A few Montrose and Delta natives will be participating in the CPRA Finals this year. Nate Hoey from Montrose is competing in bull riding and Jody Sheffield from Delta is competing in barrel racing.

“This is the first time we’ve taken an annual trip to Montrose and we really hope that CPRA can start visiting on a yearly basis,” said Scanga. “Having the support of the community is important and we hope that with the community on board we will be able to keep coming back to Montrose for several years to come.”

Sanchez encouraged everyone to get their seats and to show support for the CPRA.

“The level of entertainment on any of the three nights over the weekend is really going to be top notch,” said Sanchez.

Tickets can be purchased online, at the door the day of the event, or at the events center office. Single day rodeo performance and three day rodeo performance tickets are available.

Emily Ayers is a staff writer for the Montrose Daily Press.

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