Cowpunchers Rodeo saddles up for action in Williams
Annual event returns this weekend at the Rodeo Grounds
WILLIAMS -Excitement is in the air as preparations wrap up for the Cowpunchers 33rd Reunion Rodeo, to be held this Friday through Sunday at the Williams Rodeo Grounds.
This long-running rodeo has been rescheduled from its normal end of July weekend to Father's Day weekend in hopes of avoiding the heavy monsoon rains that are typical of Cowpunchers.
According to Cowpunchers Rodeo Coordinator Trina Runston, at the event, ranch cowboys and cowgirls from all over the southwestern United States congregate to compete in a variety of events which mirror their professional work, along with some special categories.
"We get into the fun things like ribbon roping so the kids can get involved. And the team roping events so the women can get involved. Something for everyone," Runston said. "I love watching the kids compete, also I like the ribbon roping and I love competing with my family in the team roping event, so it is hard to pick a favorite."
But out of all the unique events at the Cowpunchers Rodeo, perhaps the most popular is the ranch bronc riding.
"It's different from the professional bronc riding," Runston said. "Cowboys have to use their everyday saddle that they use on the ranch, as well as tough ranch horses, that sort of thing."
Even though the threat of an equine virus has threatened and cancelled many rodeo events around the state recently, Cowpunchers plans to continue as scheduled.
"There is always a caution," said Runston. "We've stayed in very close contact with the vets and they have recommended that we go ahead."
Runston went on to say rodeo horses are not exposed as much as show horses, for example, and if organizers thought there was any real danger they would have cancelled the rodeo.
Veterinarians have given organizers and participants specific guidelines in order to remain careful, she added.
"Like don't have horses share the water troughs with other horses and don't have the horses touch nose to nose. We are being very cautious about it," she said.
Tickets will be available at the Williams-Forest Service Visitor Center as well as at the gate the day of performance. The rodeo starts at 1 p.m. daily.
For more information on the reunion rodeo, call Runston at (928) 853-6495.
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