Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Pikes Peak Rangerettes

Spencer Penrose
Spencer Penrose is synonymous with Colorado Springs. A man of great insight, he was valuable in shaping the city and building it up for tourism. Among his many accomplishments was his teaming with Charles Leaming Tutt and Jasper Ackerman to found three organizations: the Colorado Rodeo Associations (CSRA), the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), and Norris-Penrose Event Center. Penrose is also credited with bringing the first rodeo to Colorado Springs after the city enjoyed much success in 1936 with its Pikes Peak or Bust Days.

The first rodeo was held in July 1937 at the Cheyenne Mountain Polo Field. The stadium could only seat 500 people, so Penrose built the Will Rogers Memorial Stadium to house 10,000 people on the west side of the Broadmoor Hotel. In August of 1938, the stadium was dedicated and hosted the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo. Tutt and Ackerman helped to promote the rodeo, and after World War 11, the rodeo was dedicated to the men and women who gave their lives during the War. The tradition of honoring and supporting the military continues to this day, with the rodeo now being held at the Norris-Penrose Event Center. 

Pikes Peak Rangerettes
Of the many acts designed to entertain the crowd while the cowboys prepare for their events is the Pikes Peak Rangerettes. The Rangerettes were founded in 1957 to promote the rodeo. They are an all-girl precision riding team (think the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes on horseback), and a spectacular sight to see. Ranging in age from 12-20, the girls gallop and canter around the arena in groups of two or four, weaving in and out of each other in intricate steps meant to dazzle and delight the crowd. The Rangerettes also ride in the Pikes Peak or Bust Parade and perform at other local rodeos and county fairs, encouraging unity, responsibility, self-improvement and enjoyment of horse-related activities. 

The Rangerettes standing at attention as the rodeo begins
To become a Rangerette, the girls must meet several criteria. The first is she must own or have access to one specific horse. She is also responsible for the care and transportation of her horse to and from events. Besides practicing several hours per week with the team, each girl must also practice at home. Members of the Rangerettes are required to pay dues, provide her own saddle and tack, boots, belt and hat, and must take exceptional care of the uniforms provided. Personality traits include good attitude, commitment and responsibility to herself and to the group and each must prove efficient in horsemanship.

The Rangerettes are a group of 20. Should they have more young ladies trying out, there is a waiting list. This summer alone the girls have given their time to help out with local charity events, such as the National Western Stock Show where they gave inner city kids with good grade rides on their horses. These young women are true ambassadors to the west and will take your breath away when you watch them perform.
Rangerettes at the PPOB Rodeo July 2014


Ginger Jones Simpson said...

Interesting info. Julie.

Julie Lence said...

Hi Ginger: I wish I could have posted more as tot heir history, but I couldn't find much and I don't know where in town they're located. But they are awesome to watch perform.

Kristy McCaffrey said...

It would be wonderful to see them perform!

Shanna Hatfield said...

What a fun and informative post! Thanks for sharing, Julie!

Julie Lence said...

Glad you liked reading about them, Shanna.

Kristy--they are awesome to see. I don't know how they get those horses to not bump into each other, some of their moves are that intricate.