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Snowmass Rodeo

Barrel racing pits riders against three barrels and a stopwatch.


Sapphire Saddles

By Muriel Perez

Photo by Hal Williams


As the Snowmass Rodeo celebrates its 45th anniversary, two veterans look back.

The Snowmass Rodeo turns 45 this summer, and two familiar faces have spent decades helping it reach that milestone: Darce Vold, executive director of the Snowmass Western Heritage Association, which produces the rodeo, and Jim Snyder, manager for the Snowmass Rodeo. Find them there every Wednesday during the summer, along with cowboys, cowgirls and eager spectators all paying homage to the valley’s ranching history.

     Both Vold and Snyder grew up around horses—she was riding by age 2, and he was saddling broncs and riding as a teenager—so landing jobs with the Snowmass Rodeo was a natural fit. He’s been part of the team for nearly 30 years; and she, for more than 20.

     Each year, the rodeo grows in popularity and breaks attendance records. “When you gather friends together in a picturesque setting and provide wholesome family entertainment, it is bound to create lasting memories for children and parents alike,” says Vold.

     But this anniversary year, Vold and Snyder are turning the attention to celebrating the volunteers. Nearly 30 of them staff the grounds each week, many returning every year. Volunteers were honored at the first rodeo on June 13. Rain or shine! 5pm, tickets from $15,


Anything goes at the rodeo, but here are Vold’s top picks for Western apparel.


Justin full quill ostrich boots, $400,; Serratelli 100x beaver felt hat, $500,

Vold and Snyder weigh in on the perfect rodeo evening.

Arrive at the gates and allow the little ones to jump in the bouncy house, ride the mechanical bull and practice roping skills on the roping dummies.

Sign the kids up for calf scramble and mutton busting. There is a draw, and eight lucky kiddos will get to try their hands at riding a sheep. All children can participate.

Indulge in a classic barbecue dinner with the works—ribs, beans, salad and a cocktail for the adults.

Enjoy shopping for classic Western-wear for adults and children from Cry Baby Ranch, jewelry from Gems of Aspen, and sweet treats and cotton candy from Sweet Adventures.

The rodeo starts promptly on the hour and lasts about 90 minutes.

After the rodeo, spectators enjoy watching the heard of bucking horses being trailed on Brush Creek Road back to pasture. If the weather allows, sit by the campfire and roast marshmallows while singing along with Twirp Anderson and his guitar.