Spectators can watch the Canyonlands PRCA Rodeo's Local Jackpot Barrel Racing event for free on Friday, June 3. [Courtesy photo]

During rodeos like next week’s Canyonlands PRCA event, “bulldoggers” wrestle steers – usually weighing twice as much as the cowboy – to the ground as fast as they can.

Team roping, another rodeo event, evolved on the ranch when cowboys needed to treat or brand large steers and the task proved too difficult for one person. The task requires close cooperation and timing between the two cowboys.

The rodeo’s calf-roping event demonstrates a ranch skill that originated with working cowboys.

Barrel racing is open to both females and males, who race horses around three upright barrels, before returning to the starting line.

The most exciting thing to watch, perhaps, is the classic “bucking horses and bulls,” where cowboys hang on for their life, while judges look at the horse’s bucking action, the cowboy’s spurring action, and the cowboy’s ability to control the horse.

All those events will take place at the Canyonlands PRCA (Pro Rodeo Cowboy Association) Rodeo, from Thursday, June 2, through Saturday, June 4, at the Old Spanish Arena, 3641 S. U.S. Highway 191.

All rodeo riders must be card-carrying members of PRCA, Canyonlands PRCA Club President Kirk Pearson said.

“You have to be a pro – whether male or female,” he said.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. The preshow, which starts at 6:30 p.m., includes horseback riders, dancers, appearances by Smokey the Bear and the Grand Marshal, and a prayer.

“Then we start bucking horses at 7 p.m.,” Pearson said.

Thursday is a special “Tough Enough to Wear Pink?” evening, where all PRCA members plan to wear pink shirts to raise awareness about cancer prevention. Proceeds from merchandise sales will go to the Moab Free Health Clinic to pay for breast cancer screenings, Pearson said.

Children also get involved with the rodeo, via mutton bustin’ and a stick pony race for different age categories, ranging from 3-6 years old. Sign-ups for the children’s events will take place on Saturday, May 28, at the Moab Arts Festival, where members of the rodeo club will be giving pony rides to kids.

Bar T Rodeo is the stock contractor for the event, a family business with strong ties to Moab, where Cody Flitton’s great-grandfather, D.A. Swanny – as in Swanny City Park – Kerby founded the rodeo company. Flitton, of Chester, Utah, runs the business now with his mother and father. They bring all the livestock, saddles and horses for the event.

“We have a lot of appreciation (of) people in Moab who volunteer their time,” to carry on this tradition that’s been going on in Moab for more than 50 years, Flitton said.

Advance tickets are available online at: www.moabcanyonlandsrodeo.com. Tickets are also available at City Market, the Moab Information Center and Bighorn Lodge. Tickets are $14 in advance for adults, or $16 at the door; tickets for children 12 and under are $9 in advance, or $10 at the door. Family tickets are $40 in advance, or $50 at the door. Children 2 and under are free.

The Thursday night special is $8 for military veterans, and seniors 60 and older; $10 for adults; and free for children 12 and under.

The Local Jackpot Barrel Racing event on Friday, June 3, is free to watch. The entry fee to participate is $40, with sign-ups at 9 a.m., and racing at 10 a.m.

The Jeff Keele Band of Price will perform on Saturday after the rodeo outside the arena where there will be a cash bar and food vendors. There’s also a parade on Saturday, June 4, starting at Swanny City Park, 400 N. 100 West, at 10 a.m.

PRCA Rodeo comes to Old Spanish Trail Arena next week

When: Thursday, June 2, through Saturday, June 4. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Rodeo starts at 7 p.m.

Where: Old Spanish Trail Arena, 3641 S. U.S. Highway 191

Cost: Ticket prices vary; see story for details

Information: www.moabcanyonlandsrodeo.com; 435-259-4852

“We have a lot of appreciation (of) people in Moab who volunteer their time.”