Douglas County Fair & Rodeo bucks, barrels into town

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Dust off the hats and shine up the boots. It’s rodeo time.

More than 30,000 people are expected to pass through the gates of the Douglas County Fair and Rodeo Aug. 8-11, and it’s a good bet that many will stop by the arenas at the Douglas County Fairgrounds to take in some rodeo action.

Rodeo-related events are planned all four nights of the fair, including an opening-night Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association championship at 7 p.m. featuring 12 to 15 bull riders. Each nightly performance will feature bareback riding, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping and team roping, and will conclude with bull riding. It’s those rough stock events that keep Todd Spencer, chairman of the fair’s board of directors, coming back each year.

“It’s always fun to watch a 150-pound guy trying to ride a 2,000-pound snorting animal,” said Spencer, who has served on the board since 2000.

Of course, the man-against-beast concept is scaled down with events like the kid-oriented chicken scramble or mutton bustin’, which has little ones clinging for dear life to a frisky sheep. Children are also invited to participate in a stick-horse rodeo at 9 a.m. Aug. 11.

The “Where Country Comes to Town” theme of the 2013 fair and rodeo — ironic because of the event’s storied, 95-year history in a county originally built on a tradition of ranching and equestrian sports — is meant to encourage more recent arrivals to “experience all that Douglas County has to offer,” Spencer said.

“Douglas County is getting more and more urbanized, so we’re bringing country to town when the rodeo and fair comes to Castle Rock,” he said, before encouraging attendees to wear Western outfits.

The crowds grow every year and organizers have expanded a reserved seating area in the outdoor arena to accommodate more guests. They will likely need it, as rodeo tickets are expected to sell out. 

Each night will feature a special ceremony honoring different groups. The Patriot Rodeo will get underway at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 9 and honor members of the United States military. Active-duty personnel and veterans will receive discounted entry. The following evening, during the busy Saturday night rodeo, fair officials will honor longtime board member Bob Thomas, who passed away less than a month after last year’s fair and rodeo, and dedicated volunteer Allen Bader.

The Sunday afternoon rodeo, for which tickets will cost only $5, is being billed as the “Tough Enough to Wear Pink Rodeo” and is a grassroots cowboy campaign to fight breast cancer.

“It’s going to be another big Sunday,” Spencer said.

For more information, tickets and a full schedule of rodeo events, visit http://www.douglascountyfairandrodeo.com/.

Rodeo start times

7 p.m. Aug. 8

7:30 p.m. Aug. 9

6:30 p.m. Aug. 10

1 p.m. Aug. 11