Fourth of July celebrations mean extra money for rodeo cowboys because multiple rodeos occur during Independence Day celebrations throughout the country. The week is known as “Cowboy Christmas.”
In order to entice Cowboys to compete at this year’s 76th Annual Tooele Bit N Spur Rodeo, organizers have doubled the Day Money from $100 to $200.
The main rodeos are set for Sunday, July 3 and Monday, July 4. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. and the Grand Entry begins at 7:30 p.m. Winners in each event both nights will earn $200 in addition to whatever else they earn during the rodeos.
Athletes try to schedule in as many rodeos as they can during “Cowboy Christmas.” The extra day money could incentivize more contestants to compete at the Bit N Spur.
“We have had as high as 350 entries in our events over the years,” said Rodeo Advisor Jim Harrell.
As usual, rodeo attendees will be able to enjoy patriotic grand entries to begin the rodeos, and fireworks after each rodeo concludes.
The Bit N Spur Riding Club announced the first “Special Needs Rodeo” will be held Saturday, July 2 at 11 a.m. at the Indoor Arena at Deseret Peak Complex. Events will include roping, mechanical bull riding, stick horse barrel racing, Hide Pull, goat and mini horse petting corral, hay rides, barrel horses.
Special Needs Royalty this year include Prince Dominick Gorton, Princess Ali Fitzwater, King Matthew James Hansen, and Queen Dawn Hainsworth.
A Youth Rodeo will be held later in the day at 3 p.m. Junior Director Codie Nohr said more than 296 children and teenagers have signed up to participate in the Youth Rodeo.
Events include Mutton Bustin, stick horse, ribbon pull, dummy roping, barrel racing, pole bending, goat ribbon pull, breakaway roping, and team roping.
Meanwhile, some top young cowboys will compete at the Bit N Spur including state champion bull rider Cooper James of Erda who is near the top in bull riding winning so far this year in the Rocky Mountain Pro Rodeo Association standings. He also finished tied for second last week in saddle bronc riding at the Genola Rodeo. Also, looking good this year is Erda steer wrestler Dawson Stewart. Other locals include Casey Sullivan of Tooele in bull riding, Gage Rydalch of Stockton in saddle bronc, Wyatt Chaplin of Stockton in saddle bronc, Kelly and Stone Elton of Rush Valley in team roping, and Breezy Martin of Erda in barrel racing.
Each summer the RMPRA sponsors nearly 40 rodeos in small communities throughout the Rocky Mountain states including the Bit N Spur Rodeo in Tooele.
Events include bareback, saddle bronc, bull riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, breakaway roping, ladies barrel racing, and team roping.
Stock contractor for the rodeo is Broken Heart Rodeo Company.
Broken Heart has several hundred head of bucking horses and bulls as well as stock trailers, a semi-truck and a trailer rig; it has dozens of rodeos lined up each year across the Mountain West.
The annual rodeo continues to grow and takes many volunteers and sponsors to make it successful, Harrell said.