For many, “rodeo” conjures images of bucking broncos, bull riding and barrel racing, cowboy hats and chaps, and mutton bustin’. For Evergreen, it’s all that and much more. The Evergreen Rodeo is the quintessential event that defines our mountain town.

The 58-year-old tradition celebrates the Western way of life, brings together fans and families, and contributes to our local economy. “Return to the Old West” is the theme of this year’s event which will take place over Father’s Day weekend, June 15 and 16.

“The PRCA and its members value their animals and staunchly protect their welfare.”

A ‘Norman Rockwell’ Experience

For a true slice of Americana, attend the Evergreen Rodeo Parade on Saturday, June 15 in the heart of downtown. Spectators arrive early for the Blue Spruce Kiwanis pancake breakfast and to claim their coveted spots in the shade or across from the judges’ stand in front of the Little Bear. The atmosphere is filled with anticipation as up to 100 entrants, organized by parade chair Kit Childers, showcase their businesses and civic organizations. Rodeo leadership and royalty ride tall upon their groomed horses, and our first responders cruise amidst an appreciative crowd.

“It’s like a Norman Rockwell experience,” says Bryan McFarland, Evergreen Rodeo Association chairman of the board. “The whole community gets together to support each other. It’s a joyful day for families and captures the spirit of our close-knit town.”

Behind the Scenes Heroes

A mighty corps of 100-plus volunteers is essential to the success of the Evergreen Rodeo.

“We couldn’t do this event without our volunteer teams, coordinated by Marty Unger (parade, rodeo operations, ticketing), Jessica Austin Strain (spectator hospitality), and John Orlando (sponsors and contestant hospitality),” McFarland explains. “We’re happy to see a huge influx of younger people joining as members of the rodeo association, rolling up their sleeves and working with us. This gives us continuity and confidence in advancing this great tradition into the future.”

Sponsorships Pave the Way for Continuous Improvement

Coming out of the pandemic shutdowns, the Rodeo was the first large public event to open its doors in 2021. “We made the call to proceed with the rodeo in April 2021 based on the COVID-19 metrics at that time,” said McFarland. “Two months later, we broke records in sponsorship and ticket revenue, and that trend continued in 2022 and 2023 with each successive year breaking the previous year’s records.”

“We’ve tripled our sponsor and attendance contributions over the past three years and that’s allowed us to not only sustain, but to grow our program.”

That growth has included numerous upgrades to the El Pinal grounds, which are owned outright by the rodeo association. Recent improvements have been the addition of VIP seating atop an outfitted storage container and a digital scoreboard to capture results and replays. On tap for this year are additional sponsorship “deck” seating on a second storage container, an upgraded “saloon” experience with a Western-themed bar, large screen monitors televising the rodeo action in real time, and a new announcer’s booth.

McFarland noted the involvement of the Evans and Broce Ranches, part of the Evergreen ranching legacy and new major sponsors this year. They join a loyal group of perennial business sponsors and new supporters, 83 in total.

Organizers have elevated the VIP experience in recent years. In addition to parking and preferred seating, sponsors are treated to a private kick-off party, photo ops with contestants, catered meals and live entertainment.

“It’s a joyful day for families and captures the spirit of our close-knit town.”

Giving Back to the Community

While the Evergreen Rodeo Association continues to receive support from the community, it reciprocates by making donations to local causes. The nonprofit has contributed to scholarships for the rodeo royalty, backed families in need, and sponsored the Evergreen Nature Center. It has also assisted with the Evergreen Downtown Business Association’s Holiday Walk, handling the funding and logistics of closing main street for pedestrian access. “We want to thank the Evergreen community at large for their continued amazing support of our annual Father’s Day rodeo tradition, and we look forward to welcoming everyone back this year,” said McFarland.

Partnerships Key to Rodeo Success

According to Evergreen Rodeo Association President Dave Marshall, a former rodeo contestant in the tie-down event, the partnership that exists with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) is foundational to the longevity and success of the Evergreen Rodeo.

“We’re a member of the PRCA and all of our more than 200 contestants are PRCA members competing to qualify for the national finals rodeo in Las Vegas,” said Marshall. “We’re one of about 40 rodeos in the Mountain State Circuit. Our event features bareback and saddle bronc-riding, bull riding, team roping, tie-down roping, and steer wrestling. Through our affiliation with the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association, we also offer competitive barrel racing and breakaway roping.” Winners in each category can earn $1,500 to $2,000 in addition to advancement toward the national finals. Entry fees and a contribution from the rodeo association fund the prizes.

Membership in the PRCA also means following the highest standards of care for the rodeo animals. The PRCA athletes value their animals, as do the PRCA stock contractors that provide the livestock for the rodeos. Like most people, PRCA members believe animals should be provided with proper care and treatment. The PRCA and its members value their animals and staunchly protect their welfare.

Another key partner to bringing the rodeo to life is stock contractor and PRCA member Cervi Championship Rodeo. Based in Stoneham, near Sterling, Colorado, Cervi has been bringing livestock to the Evergreen Rodeo since the 1980s. Cervi produces some of the top rodeos in the country, is the contractor for the National Western Stock Show, and has an excellent reputation for caring for the animals on the ranch.

A long-standing partner with a lot of personality is announcer Doug Mathis, who Marshall calls “one of the best in the business.” Mathis’ commentary is the glue that provides seamless transitions and humor between events.

“We’ve built relationships with Doug Mathis, the Cervi family, barrel man/rodeo clown Kevin Higley and so many others,” says Marshall, a third-generation Evergreen resident. “Sure, they have contracts with us, but it goes beyond that—they’re invested in our rodeo and want to be part of our family.”

Locally, event organizers are grateful for partnerships with the Evergreen Fire Rescue Team, Mobile Vet, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Colorado State Patrol, who all help ensure safety for contestants and ticketholders.

A Weekend About Family

At its core, the Rodeo, always on Father’s Day weekend, is about families.

“Ours is a perfect family event,” says McFarland. “It’s about kids with cotton candy, Mom and Dad with a cold drink, being outside in the beautiful setting, pony rides for the youngsters, exciting action in the arena, lots of vendors and food for everyone to enjoy.”

However, McFarland and the rodeo team do not rest on their laurels. “We want to do our best to continue this amazing tradition,” he says. “We strive to keep improving the experience for all of our stakeholders—sponsors, volunteers, contestants, contractors and spectators.”

Perhaps Marshall, a 30-year veteran of the rodeo association, encapsulates it best:

“The whole weekend ends up feeling like a big family reunion.”

For complete rodeo weekend details, tickets, volunteer opportunities and sponsorships, go to