111th Annual Cattlemen's Days Celebrates True West in Gunnison, Colorado

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June 21, 2011--People who love the aura and authenticity of the West, will find plenty of reasons to spend summer in Gunnison, Colo. The highlight is the 111th Annual Cattlemen?s Days, granddaddy of Colorado rodeos, from July 8?17. The event was among American Cowboy?s 101 Best of the West list for 2011.

The 10-day festival is all about celebrating Gunnison?s ranching heritage and Western spirit and will feature three Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) rodeos and many activities, most taking place at the Fred R. Field Western Heritage Center as well as at various locations in the Gunnison community.

Through a partnership with the national ?Tough Enough to Wear Pink? program, Cattlemen?s Days also is dedicated to providing local funding for breast cancer awareness, support, screenings and equipment. Since efforts began in 2006, Cattlemen?s Days has raised more than $560,000 and was recognized as the number one fund-raising rodeo in the U.S. at the 2010 National Finals Rodeo. Approximately $249,000 has been paid for mammograms and biopsies and $100,000 contributed to Gunnison Valley Hospital for digital mammography machine.

PRCA Rodeos

As always, the marquee events for Cattlemen?s Days are the rodeos with their thrills, spills and good-natured fun. The rodeos will be held on the evenings of July 14, 15 and 16 at 7 p.m.

  • For the ?Tough Enough To Wear Pink? rodeo on July 14, Cattlemen?s Days will once again pledge a portion of admissions to the local campaign and many cowboys will wear pink. A
  • Everyone is encouraged to wear red, white and blue or the American flag on their clothing at the Patriot Night rodeo on July 15.
  • At the July 16 ?Family Night? rodeo, kids 10 and under are admitted free for general seating with a paid adult and or pay only $5 for grandstand seating.

Schedule at a Glance & Tickets

  • Cattlemen?s Days Kickoff Dinner & Dance ? July 8
  • Gunnison County Fair ? July 9 ? 16.
  • Open Horse Show ? July 10
  • Cowboy Poetry ? July 12
  • Tough Enough to Wear Pink Benefit Concert & Auction in Mt. Crested Butte featuring three of Nashville?s best songwriters?Hall of Famers, CMA, BMI and Grammy Award winners Dean Dillon, Scotty Emerick and Bob DiPiero?and Jaclyn North, winner of the Texaco Country Showdown?s Best New Act in Country Music ? July 12
  • Watershed Team Roping & Barrel Racing ? July 13
  • Carnival ? July 13 ? 16
  • PRCA Rodeos ? July 14, 15 & 16
  • Pioneer Banquet, July 14
  • Post Rodeo Party at The Last Chance Saloon, July 14
  • Live Music & Dancing at the Elks Lodge ? July 15 & 16
  • Kiwanis Pre-Parade Pancake Breakfast ? July 16
  • Parade ? July 16
  • Junior Livestock Auction ? July 16
  • Cowboy Church/FCA Services ? July 17
  • Horse Race Meet & 1- and 2-Year-Old Bucking Bull Futurity ? July 17

For a complete schedule of events, including times and locations, visit www.cattlemensdays.com or call (800) 814-8893. Tickets for the rodeo will go on sale on July 5 at the Cattlemen?s Days ticket booth located in the Gunnison Bank and Trust parking lot. Tickets also can be purchased at the door for $12 general admission and $15 grandstand seating.

Cattlemen?s Days History

For more than a century, the Gunnison Valley has celebrated its Western way of life with annual demonstrations of roping, racing and riding skills. Cattlemen?s Days has grown from an annual get-together of local cowboys and cowgirls to a PRCA event that attracts the world?s top competitors, the best livestock from across the country, and much more. Since the early days, the rodeo is scheduled between spring calving and summer haying. It made a debut on a makeshift Main Street arena and now takes place at a modern rodeo complex, the Fred R. Field Western Heritage Center, located one block south of Highway 50 in Gunnison.

Experience the West

Trail Rides & Adventures

Gunnison-based Tenderfoot Outfitters offers authentic trail rides of varying lengths, horse packing trips, high alpine fishing excursions, tent bed and breakfast trips, youth adventure camps and horseback hunts. To find out more about all the options, visit www.tenderfoot-outfitters.com or call (800) 641-0504.

Also check out Fantasy Ranch Horseback Adventures, offering horseback outings and wilderness trail rides from its Mt. Crested Butte stable. Fantasy Ranch is well known for its trail ride from the Crested Butte area to Aspen. During winter, Fantasy Ranch offers horseback rides from its Almont stable. Contact (970) 349-5425 or visit www.fantasyranchoutfitters.com.

Western State College of Colorado?s Extended Studies program is offering an intergenerational five-day West Elk Horsepacking & Camping Trip, kicking off on July 16 with an orientation to Western life and the horses as well as attending a Cattlemen?s Days rodeo. On July 17, ride to base camp and start feeling like a cowboy or cowgirl. Over the next three days, enjoy trail rides, fishing, cowboy games, reading animal tracks, creating horseshoe art and telling campfire stories. Rogene McKiernan, a retired WSC professor, and Tenderfoot Outfitters will lead the trip. The course is designed for children ages 9 ? 13 and an accompanying adult and costs $599 per person. Call (800) 876-5309, ext. 7 or visit www.western.edu/extendedstudies.com.

Dude Ranches

For unforgettable guest ranch experiences, visit Waunita Hot Springs Ranch near Gunnison and Harmel?s Ranch Resort near Almont in the Taylor Canyon. To reach Waunita Hot Springs Ranch, call (770) 641-1266 or visit www.waunita.com. For Harmel?s, call (800) 235-3402 or visit www.harmels.com.

Vacation Deals

Enjoy all of the benefits of Harmel?s Ranch Resort and stay in one of the Hitchn? Post Lodge?s eight motel-style rooms, each with one queen bed and one double bed complete, for only $140 per night for up to four people per room. The Hitchn? Post Package is available June 15 ? Aug. 15, 2011, and includes a hearty breakfast buffet, private fishing permit, stocked rainbow trout pond, and numerous other amenities. Horseback riding, guided fly-fishing, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, ziplining and massages can be added for an extra cost. Offer is based on availability and does not include tax/service fee. Also ask about opening season (May 25 - June 14) and closing season (Aug. 16 ? Sept. 17) specials. Book by calling (800) 235-3402, and also visit www.harmels.com.

Visitor Information & Personalized Vacation Packages

For more information about Gunnison-Crested Butte?s summer calendar of events or to book personalized vacation packages, visit www.GunnisonCrestedButte.com or call (800) 814-8893. Air access to the Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport is provided year-round by United Airlines and in the winter by American Airlines. Find the Tourism Association on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gcbta or follow us on www.twitter.com/gcbta.

About Gunnison County, Colorado

Gunnison-Crested Butte is nestled among almost two million acres of pristine wilderness in southwest Colorado. Winter sports enthusiasts know the area for its world-class alpine skiing and snowboarding at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ice fishing. Gunnison-Crested Butte is also a haven for outdoor summer activities. In the warmer months, visitors can choose from recreational activities such as hiking, climbing, mountain biking, boating, whitewater rafting, kayaking, fly-fishing, camping and horseback riding.

Ye ar-round visitors enjoy distinctive restaurants, unique shops and stimulating cultural opportunities, and have a wide range of lodging options ? from rustic inns to guest cabins and bed-and-breakfasts to full-service resort hotels.

Gunnison, county seat and a real western town, is home to the Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport, Gunnison Whitewater Park, Gunnison Valley Observatory, Pioneer Museum and Western State College, which offers bachelor?s and master?s degrees in liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional fields. Both Crested Butte and Gunnison have thriving historic central business districts packed with shopping and dining opportunities.

Recognized as the ?Official Wildflower Capital of Colorado? by the Colorado Legislature and one of the National Trust for Historic Preservation?s ?Dozen Distinctive Destinations? in 2008, Crested Butte is 28 miles from Gunnison and the site of rich mining, ranching and skiing heritage and home to the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum and Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. Only three miles up the road is the resort village of Mt. Crested Butte, home to the ski area, an active base area, the area?s conference center, and outstanding hiking and biking trails.

Marble is located in the Upper Crystal River Valley along the Elk Mountains and is the gateway to nearby Crystal, home to one of the most photographed mill sites in the country. Marble has seven sites on the National Register of Historic Places and is the location of the Yule Marble Quarry.

In Gunnison County, visitors will find the Curecanti National Recreation Area, where dinosaur fossils were recently discovered; the Blue Mesa Reservoir, Colorado?s largest body of water and home to the largest Kokanee salmon fishery in the United States; and The Black Canyon of the Gunnison, one of our country?s newest national parks. Gunnison County includes the quaint and historic towns of Pitkin, Gothic, Tin Cup, Marble, Powderhorn, Almont and Crystal, plus the better-known communities of Gunnison, Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte. Gunnison County is part of the West Elk Loop and Silver Thread Scenic & Historic Byways.