Gunnison Country Times, March 19, 2015

Cattlemen’s Days has been named the nation’s No. 1 rodeo for Tough Enough to Wear Pink’s cancer fighting cause. Now, organizers of Gunnison’s signature western event want to make it the top professional rodeo in the country in the eyes of the cowboys and cowgirls who come here to compete in it.

How? By having the con­testants’ entry fees paid and maybe even offering a little trav­el money to help defray their expenses.

Rodeoing is a tough business. The top-tier cowboys and cow­girls can make a living at it. But for the majority, especially the young up-and-comers who are trying to get a foothold in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit, every little penny counts.

“For some of these guys, it’s like they have to syphon gas out of dad’s pickup just to be able to make it down the road to the next event,” quipped Kevin Coblentz, assistant vice presi­dent of the Cattlemen’s Days committee.

Coblentz is promoting a spe­cial sponsorship offer to the local community. For $150, a person can be the proud spon­sor of a Cattlemen’s Days cow­boy or cowgirl contestant.

“The goal is to bring in more contestants, and to enhance and grow the event,” Coblentz said. “Plus this provides the average Joe a little bit of own­ership in Cattlemen’s Days, because suddenly they can be a sponsor.”

It’d take $30,000 to provide entries for 200 contestants. Coblentz sees this as a realis­tic goal. And one that could be yet another reason that gets Cattlemen’s Days noticed on the national radar. The plan is to promote the offer to contestants through the Pro Rodeo Sports News publication.

“I’ve never heard of anyone else doing this,” Coblentz said. “To the best of my knowledge, we’d be the first.”

In exchange for their cash contribution, a sponsor receives promotion in event programs, admission to one rodeo, a hat and half-price admission to a kickoff dinner July 3.

This year’s Cattlemen’s Days Rodeo runs July 9, 10 and 11.