Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

By Mark Dykes
Assistant Editor 

Rodeo, People of the Earth Days highlight weekend


Mark Dykes

Greg Willson leads People of the Earth Days participants through the museum at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center. The group also went on a dig site tour.

Last week was plenty busy, with both the annual Cowboy Rendezvous PRCA Rodeo and the People of the Earth happening.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Meri Ann Rush said the rodeo had excellent performances each evening - Friday and Saturday - and there were about 50 more participants than past years. She also heard comments that people enjoyed the stock; this year saw a partnership with Powder River Rodeo, which has some of the top bucking stock at the National Finals Rodeo.

Those attending and competing in the rodeo came not only from Wyoming, but Colorado, Nebraska, Montana, South Dakota and other states.

Outside the nightly 7 p.m. performances, crowds were also entertained with the Cowboy Rendezvous Rodeo Parade through the downtown - with the bucking horses that were determined to make a break for an alternate path - and the Chuck Mead Memorial Pack Horse Race.

In the pack horse race, two-person teams must pack a tin can with marbles, seven horseshoes, a bedroll, a Dutch oven, pots and pans, a coffee pot, a rubber bucket, six cans of food, a shovel, a 40-pound bag of salt, 12 fresh eggs in a carton and three gallons of water. With the load secured, each member must ride on horseback, leading the pack horse, through a course that includes a bridge, foam forest, log blow down, switch backs and saw buck and a catch pen.

It can be quite entertaining to see if the pack makes it intact, as well as some of the creative ways the teams secure the load.

Rush said the annual rodeo is usually the last weekend in June, though no dates are firmly set for 2017.

As for the third annual People of the Earth, Rush said "that is such a fun time." As it coincided with the rodeo this year, participants were invited to head to the fairgrounds if they chose to take in the action.

Other People of the Earth events included tours of the Wyoming Dinosaur Center and dig site, a trip to Legend Rock, a Night at the Museum - during which authors Michael Gear and Kathy O'Neal Gear read from the books they are currently working on - and a tour and information on such topics as mineral water, geology and bison ecology. Sunday's highlight was a book signing with the Gears, as well as authors Lucia St. Claire Roboson, Dr. Steve Horn, Larry J. Martin and Kat Martin.

Rush noted an average of 25-27 attended, though not everyone participates in every activity. Every year, Rush said, there is a journal for people to write in, and this year saw appreciation for sharing our world and our town.

People of the Earth is the last full weekend in June.


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