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Prowers County is on the Map with Colorado High School Rodeo Finals

Cooked over a Campfire

For the past several years, Lamar has hosted the Colorado High School Rodeo Finals. The annual competition, held around the Memorial Day holiday, is usually given a two-year run for the community that makes a successful bid for the event.  And usually, the event is spread around various communities around the state and Lamar hosted the rodeo for 2016 and 2017.  This year, however, the Rodeo committee contacted the county, stating that instead of soliciting bids, they like holding it here so much, they’ve already decided they want to return for the 2018-2019 season.

There’s still the financial matter of paying the Rodeo the needed $16,000 to secure the hosting rights and the Prowers Lodging Panel voted to pledge that amount for the new season. The funding won’t be paid out until next spring, but that balance will be marked in next year’s budget.  Aside from hosting a four day event which brings in over 100 contestants and their families for motel room rentals, the local community also profits from the general spending habits of the attendees which includes meals, fuel, C-Store supplies, snacks, dinners and general spending at the local retail outlets.  It all adds to the local community.  Aside from bragging rights on the amenities at the Prowers County Fairgrounds, the fact that the Rodeo Association requested to remain for a new, two-year period, won’t go unnoticed by other rodeo groups who might want to see what we have to offer.

Lamar Community College hosts the Frontier History Encampment, held on campus every two years and the event is scheduled for September 29-30 for this year. Organizer Kelly Emick, LCC history professor, was granted her $3,000 request to help stage this year’s enactment which depicts frontier life in several stages of the 1800s on the southeast plains.  “Each stop of the Encampment shows a segment of social and economic development in about ten year segments,” she explained.  Forty to sixty historic interpreters portray individuals and groups and their involvement in the development of the American West.  Close to 1,000 visitors attend the two-day event, but Emick lamented the loss of school students who used to attend Friday’s session, as most of the local schools are now in a four day week.  “We’d have busses filled with kids on Friday’s, but now we’ll have a few bus loads come in from Baca County or a number of home-schooled children who come out for the day,” she told the Panel members.  Emick is looking for ways to increase her marketing along the Front Range and has received coverage in the Denver Post.  The Encampment began in 2005 by her mother, former history professor at LCC, Judy Arnold.

Chad Hart detailed plans for a first-time, Santa Fe Trail Dutch Oven Exposition, to be held on Thursday, August 10th in Elmer’s Garden at the Prowers County Fairground during Sand and Sage Days.  His request of $500 for seed money to start the venture was approved by the Panel, with Hart abstaining from the vote, as he is a board member.  He’s also been a Dutch oven cooker for several years and has taken part in a number of events which featured his old-time style of preparing a meal out on the prairie.  If you’ve ever watched a re-run of ‘Rawhide’ or ‘Lonesome Dove’, you’ve got an idea of how Wishbone or Po Campo prepared their meals for the cattle drivers…in pots or Dutch ovens over a campfire or using coals on top of, or under the pots.  “This is new ground,” Hart explained, adding that people have expressed an interest in how you can cook a meal of ham and beans, bread or biscuits, soups, stews or even bake a pie or cake using coals in a pot.  He intends to use the funds to assemble at least five teams and take them through the steps from noon to 6pm on August 10th and perhaps have a judging contest.  “Each team will cook the entire meal, not just a portion of one, so they’ll learn how to prepare all the meals,” he said.

Panel member, Norma Dorenkamp, thanked the Panel for their funding for the annual, ‘Cowboy Up at the Wagons’ event held each June at the End of the Line Arena at Camp Amache in Granada. “We doubled the number of participants who came out this year with at least 150 persons, including the bronc rider’s competition which was a new feature this year,” she stated.  Dorenkamp said most folks came in by the carload, “We had people in from Kansas, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado,” for the two-day event which was held at the Arena.  The next Panel meeting is set for July 18th at the Rodeway Cow Palace Inn.

By Russ Baldwin

 

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