in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado usually
congers up thoughts of hiking, biking and rafting but
for those in the rodeo world it means the start of some
great rodeos in the Mountain States Circuit including
the Elizabeth Stampede.
With a spectacular view of the Rocky
Mountains, Elizabeth, Colo., boasts a population 4,973
on the Colorado high prairie. Nestled between Denver
and Colorado Springs at the northern end of the Black
Forest, Elizabeth offers heavily wooded areas of tall
Ponderosa Pine, which just so happens to surround the
rodeo arena on the north, south and east sides leaving
a clear view of the Rocky Mountains on the western horizon.
The 2010 Elizabeth Stampede was
held June 4-6 and Colorado cowgirl Diann Bukowski captured
the barrel racing title for the first time in her career.
"I won second there a year
or two ago and I have always had good luck there but
never won it until this year," said Bukowski, who
rode her 15-year old Adobe "Quixote" Bar to
the winning time of 16.19 seconds. "My horse really
likes that arena and it rained during the performance
which made that ground that much better."
Bukowski outdistanced three-time
Wrangler NFR qualifier Sherrylynn Johnson, of Henryetta,
Okla., who finished with a 16.55-second run, as well
as 2007 Dodge National Circuit Finals winner and NFR
qualifier Shali Lord, of Lamar, Colo., who took sixth
with a time of 16.74 seconds.
"The arena in Elizabeth is
a little hard to run in because of the way it is set-up
at an angle and the fact that we enter through a side
gate," Bukowski said. "Luckily my horse just
does what I tell him to do, which also then means that
I have to take full responsibility if something goes
wrong. He just does his job and doesn't ask questions."
Bukowski qualified for the Dodge
National Circuit Finals rodeo in 2009 as a member of
the Mountain States Circuit, so not only did the money
she win in Elizabeth, which was $1,225, count toward
her WPRA NFR standings it also counted toward her circuit
standings where she is currently ranked second with
many more circuit rodeos ahead of her.
"Living only 45 minutes from
Elizabeth, it is a rodeo I don't want to miss and for
all practical purposes it is considered a hometown rodeo
for me," said Bukowski, who makes her home in Falcon,
Colo. "The rodeo committee does a great job and
they really make everyone feel welcome with their great
While competing in the circuit is
important to Bukowski, this year she has her sights
set on making the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in
"One day last year it hit me
that my horse and I were getting older and that if we
were going to make a push for the NFR, we needed to
get after it," she said. "I am getting ready
to head out to Santa Fe, N.M., to begin the busy summer
run and see what happens."
In just over two decades of being
a PRCA/WPRA sanctioned rodeo the Elizabeth Stampede
has become known as one of the best small rodeos in
the Mountain States Circuit. The committee works very
hard on keeping the ground consistent and good throughout
the barrel racing competition. They rake after every
girl and this year they held slack between the afternoon
and evening performances to keep the ground as even
as possible. The community of Elizabeth and surrounding
areas really supports this great event, filling the
stands for each performance.
For more information on this rodeo