For a tourist town with Wild West appeal, Mark Sanchez felt Durango needed a rodeo. Now, in his third year, he's hoping to get the locals involved.
Gates open tonight at 5:30 at the La Plata County Fairgrounds for the Crossroads Rodeo Company, a family Christian rodeo event that will run every Saturday evening in June and the first Friday and Saturday evenings in July.
Sanchez, who rodeoed professionally for 11 years and has been involved with the rodeo all his life, wants to bolster the sport's popularity in his home town.
"We want to be here from now on," Sanchez said. "We want to be part of what brings people to Durango."
The event has won over tourists and competitors - 80-90 of the latter was typical the last two years, Sanchez said - but locally, it's been a different story.
"We are losing interest," said Crossroads secretary Kelly McCoy, whose husband is a bullrider.
"We're trying to keep the local heritage alive."
Sanchez said he understands times are tough for many right now.
"We're trying to win back the locals, make it priced right," Sanchez said.
Adult tickets are $10, while children 12 and under get in for $5.
Events include saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, open bulls, novice bulls, steer riding, calf riding, mutton bustin', open barrel race, junior barrel race, pee wee barrels and a first-time chance for kids 8-and-under to compete in the future legends barrels.
Ladies team roping and mixed team roping will be added the first Friday in July.
Crossroads involves more than 100 animals.
"It's clean fun," McCoy said. "We welcome everybody."