Tie-down roping and barrel racing kicked off the Durango Fiesta Days events Friday morning at the La Plata County Fairgrounds.
Rodeo events will run all weekend as part of the annual Fiesta Days, which have been running since 1935.
In the timed, tie-down roping event, a horseback rider chases and lassos a calf. Then, the rider dismounts, wrestles the calf to the ground and ties together three of its legs.
Women competed in a modified version called “breakaway roping,” where the rider catches the calf but doesn’t dismount and tie the calf.
Quincy Montoya, 13, of Hesperus competed in breakaway roping.
She is a member of the local Basin Rodeo Club and recently competed at the National Junior High Finals rodeo in South Dakota.
Montoya, whose favorite event is goat tying, has been participating in rodeo for most of her life after a preschool teacher introduced her to it.
The best part of the tight-knit rodeo community is “hanging out with friends and having a good time,” she said.
Another competitor, Wendy Brandt, was waiting for the barrel races to begin.
Brandt grew up on horses and said, “It’s my sanctuary.”
An experienced rodeo participant from Monticello, Utah, Brandt frequents events in Cortez, Durango and Farmington.
The old fairgrounds in Durango, which had more space for rodeo events, was ideal, Brandt said. She added that she would like to see the La Plata County Fairgrounds expand in the future.
Multiple rodeo performances are scheduled through the weekend at 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.
On Saturday, the Fiesta Days parade will begin at 10 a.m. on Main Avenue in downtown Durango, and the Fiesta Queen Coronation will take place at 6:15 p.m.
On Sunday, Cowboy Church will held at 9 a.m. at the fairgrounds’ grandstand followed by the Cowboy Pancake Breakfast at 9:30 a.m. at the fairgrounds’ patio.