Photo Credit: Open Your Eyes Gallery
In the early 1800s, it was determined that Gunnison, Colorado was not the ideal place to grow crops. The valley’s climate was too dry and the elevation too high. Desperate to make the beautiful valley their home, homesteaders turned to ranching, which made Gunnison a popular destination for cowboys. Centuries later, ranching still thrives in this Western Slope town, as do cowboys, making Gunnison the truest example of western cowboy culture.
Each July, Gunnison celebrates its history and culture by hosting Cattlemen Days, the “Granddaddy of Colorado Rodeos.” Selected as one of the “Top 101 Western Events” in the country by American Cowboy Magazine, Cattlemen Days provides 11 days of authentic wild west experiences and boot-stomping festivities. The only traffic jam you’ll encounter is the occasional cattle drive led by real cowboys. The thrills, spills, and good natured fun you’ll discover come from cowboys displaying courage and skill, the antics of rodeo clowns, and the pageantry of rodeo queens and princesses.
Debuted in 1900, when Main Street served as the rodeo site, Cattlemen Days now has its own arena and hosts a country fair, a parade, live music, dancing, and livestock competitions. Additionally, there is a silent auction and a “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” Rodeo, which raises money and awareness for breast cancer treatments, research, and support. Of course, there is also a rodeo sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, which draws some of the country’s top cowboys, who demonstrate just what it takes to be a winner.
Its rich history, great environment, and high quality production have helped make Cattlemen Day’s one of the most popular small rodeos on the professional circuit. If you love rodeos or are aching to check one out, Cattlemen Days is the one to visit.
Gunnison Cattlemen Days
When: July 8, 2016 to Jul 17, 2016
Where: Gunnison, Colorado
For more information, visit www.CattlemensDays.com.
Where to stay
Comfort Inn Gunnison – (970) 642-1000
Luxury at affordable prices. Heated pool, hot tub, free high speed wi-fi, Direct TV, HDTV, local calls, airport transportation, breakfast, and laundry facilities.
Econo Lodge – (970) 641-3068
An easy stop and a great place to stay at an awesome rate. Hot breakfast, free airport shuttle, and smoke free.
Island Acres Resort Motel – (970) 641-1442
Enjoy spacious outdoors, gorgeous views, quaint vintage charm, and retro modern furnishings. Take a step back in time in this newly restored paradise!
Rockey River Resort – (970) 641-0174
Riverfront cabins complete with kitchens. The gold medal waters of the Gunnison River are just out your door!
Waunita Hot Springs Ranch – (970) 641-1266
A decadent bed and breakfast with home cooked meals, beautiful scenery, and of course, hot springs!
Where to eat
Garlic Mike’s – (970) 641-2493
Enjoy authentic Italian cuisine right on the banks of the romantic Gunnison River. Reservations are recommended.
Gunnison Vitamin & Health Cafe – (970) 641-5928
Local, natural, non GMO, and organic food. Open for 18 years, this cafe serves healthy made-from-scratch goodness. Gluten free & vegan options.
Blackstock Bistro – (970) 641-4394
Excellent and unique made-from-scratch dishes created by sous chef Luke Martin. Comfortable, casual dining in an elegant, historic atmosphere. Complete with full bar and music venue.
Añejo Bistro & Bar – (970) 641-1427
Award-winning authentic Mexican food. Made to order with the freshest of ingredients. Fabuloso Margarita Bar!
Where to shop
Open Your Eyes Gallery – (970) 707-5021
Showcasing the work of Allan and Francie Ivy. In-house printing, matting, and framing.
Starhouse Goods/Salvage & Such – (970) 209-6587
Up-cycled artifacts, future primitives, visionary art, and fine funked junk.
Bluebird Boutique – (970) 641-3795
Unique, eclectic blend of “a little something for everyone.” Great mix of new clothing, shoes, accessories, repurposed furniture, vintage finds, and treasures by local artists.
Treads ‘n’ Threads – (970) 641-1551
Down to earth shoes, clothing, and accessories to fit your active lifestyle.
Into The Woods Gifts & Ice Cream – (970) 641-7456
A unique gift emporium. Souvenirs, decor, wall art, fashion accessories, candles, trains, and delicious ice-cream.
Where to put your pooch
Waggin’ Tails – (970) 641-9247
Pure fun doggy daycare. Offering boarding and in-home pet care. Amazing staff pampers your furry friends. Insured & bonded.
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Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit writerlindsaydiamond.wordpress.com to learn more.