Few elements of the Ute Mountain Roundup weekend stand out as prominently as the pageantry and tradition of weekend’s festivities.
On Friday, the UMR chose to honor one of the central figures in helping develop the event as well as the venue – long-time UMR committee member Bobby Yates.
Earlier in the day across town, the Rob Yates Memorial Golf Tournament continued their annual tradition to honor Yates’ memory, while raising money to help continue the development of the Montezuma County Fairgrounds facilities.
Bobby Yates, recognized on “Western Heritage Night” at the rodeo, has been instrumental in countless projects to help the UMR become one of the biggest community events of the year. Among his biggest community involvements in his five decades of active involvement, Yates served on the Montezuma County Fair Board, and helped in the process of developing an indoor venue at the Fairgrounds.
While also serving on the UMR board for the past 15 years, Yates played a large part in moving the UMR from the American Legion Rodeo Grounds to the fairgrounds – and the subsequent continued growth of the event.
Meanwhile, on Conquistador Golf Course, over 100 UMR supporters teed up on the links in honor of Rob Yates, and enjoyed a festive atmosphere filled with “Cowboy Golf.” Along with a four-person scramble format, golfers were treated to a variety of challenges to try to improve their team score – including a roping hole, poker challenge, as well as games of washers and yard nuts.
UMR Rodeo Chairman Bentley Colbert recognized the importance of the event both as a tribute, as well as an integral part of the whole weekend.
“Our mission from day one was to continue to improve the show [the UMR],” said Colbert, “and the golf tournament has been a big part of that – it’s a great event, especially to honor the memory of Rob.”
The team of Kyann Sayer, Ellis Longfellow, Mike Smithwick, and Rickey Ratjen posted the best score in the first flight, edging out the team of Bradey Yates, Travis Wright, Nonie Quintana, and John Grader.
“Everything we raise here goes into the facility,” added Colbert, noting another strong year of sponsorship from local community businesses, “its nothing but good fun.”
In the second flight, the grouping of Michael Snooks, Jason McGuiness, John Ray, and Ken Mattison took the top honor, while the third flight champs were Kyle Roberts, Kelsi and Kori Bramwell, and Calvin Brevik.
With a high standard set on day one, competitors in Friday night’s session knew they would have to raise their level to break onto the leader boards.
A number of athletes rose to occasion, with Isaac Richard headlining the night in saddle bronc with a stellar scoring performance atop Powder River Rodeo bronc Big Farewell. The Louisiana native held tight for a score of 87.5, good enough to move him into the top four in the standings.
Steer wrestler Blake Brown from Spanish Fork, Utah, posted a stellar effort of 4.5 seconds to put himself at the top of the standings. Meanwhile, Hobbs, New Mexico’s Cory Rowland tied up his steer in 9.4 seconds, good for a tie atop the leader board in Tiedown Roping.
Military Night caps off the rodeo on Saturday night, with a number of Four Corners athletes scheduled to compete, with action kicking off at 7 p.m. at the fairgrounds.
“We love the local participation, and the reception from the community has been tremendous,” added Colbert, as Four Corners rodeo fans look to turn out in droves for the final night of the rodeo.