Rodeo would be nothing without its deep-rooted history. It may be a sport that is modernizing itself, but the old rodeo values of courage, being true to your word, and being willing to put in a hard day’s work remain.
One of those rodeos so deeply rooted in its history is the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo in Colorado Springs, Colorado. To celebrate that history before the modern-day version of the rodeo kicks off on Wednesday, we’re walking our way through the timeline of our favorite historical moments of the event.
The tradition began in Colorado Springs when Spencer Penrose founded the rodeo.
The rodeo immediately made a move in year two with what was known as “The House That Spec Built”—the Will Rogers Stadium that could seat 10,000 people. It was the first of four moves the event would make.
After Penrose’s death in 1939, the building name was then changed to the Spencer Penrose Stadium.
A hotspot for military, the Pikes Peak region is home to the United States Air Force Academy, NORAD/NORTHCOM, Air Force Space Command, Schriever Air Force Base, Peterson Air Force Base, and Fort Carson. In 1946 the rodeo pledged to donate its proceeds to help service members and their families within the region and has continued that tradition ever since.
Also in 1946, Bill Linderman—the namesake of the PRCA’s Linderman Award, which honors competitors who earn the most money competing in three events, with at least one roughstock and one timed event—won the bareback riding competition. Linderman would end his career as a six-time world champion, showing his skills on both sides of the arena with two all-around titles (1950, 1953), two saddle bronc riding (1945, 1950), one bareback riding (1943), and one steer wrestling (1950).
Women’s barrel racing made its first appearance at the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo. Jane Mayo was the first winner of the new event.
The event moved to the 71-acre Pikes Peak Equestrian Center.
Team roping was introduced to Pikes Peak with Joe Murray and Rickey Green winning the inaugural appearance of rodeo’s only true team event.
The Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame was founded to exclusively honor standouts in the world of Western sports. The Hall of Fame resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
A 12- or 13-year-old Fallon Taylor won the barrel racing (the event is right around the Florida cowgirl’s birthday). This was long before we knew her as the fashion-line-owning, rainbow-tie-dye-wearing, helmet advocate she is today, but the world of rodeo certainly knew who this talented cowgirl was by that season’s end as she was well on her way to her first NFR qualification.
The rodeo moved to the Colorado Springs World Arena, heading indoors for a short period.
The rodeo returned to the renovated and updated Norris-Penrose Center, the venue where it got its start and where it remains today.
The rodeo was sanctioned under the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association once again.
You can watch the Pikes Peak 0r Bust Rodeo for its third year on FloRodeo by clicking HERE. Yeah, we slid this historical fact in here, but can you blame us? We're excited to watch it online, too!