26 CALF News • August | September 2020 • F rom Cheyenne to Calvary, North America’s biggest rodeos and equine events were cor- ralled by the coronavirus fromMarch on. The ‘rona also toppled traditions at dozens of smaller arenas that would’ve seen grand entries galore in summer celebrations. But the team at Amarillo’s Will Rogers Range Riders knew social distancing couldn’t stop their 79th annual rodeo from stealing the stage Fourth of July weekend. The event attracted several thousand fans, partici- pants and volunteers all three nights. A special Colt Starting Challenge saw hundreds jam the Range Riders indoor arena to witness master cowboys and cowgirls help tame some feisty fillies. Range Riders was formed in 1938 and is the nation’s oldest continuously operating riding club. Its Indepen- dence Day rodeo has been ongoing since World War II. Even though it has sometimes faced hardships like many small rodeos, Range Riders 2020 lit a fire under the local western community that’s still burning. Co-rodeo chairs Terry Rich and Vic Morrison joined forces following the 2019 rodeo to strategize how to expand it and add more pizazz. They rounded up dozens of volunteers and a herd of sponsors. Range Riders members made extra hardy hands. “We have about 155 members in Range Riders,” says Mor- rison, whose day job is regional vice president for Diversified Crop Insurance Services.“They range from teens to men who served in World War II. They were heavily involved in this year’s event.” “It was important to have co-chairs,” adds Rich, owner of T.L. Rich Construction and long-time Range Rider member. “Vic handled most of the rodeo and Colt Challenge activities. I took charge of getting sponsors and coordinating volunteers. Both of us had few people turn us down to help make this a great event.” Combined ranch and open rodeos Will Rogers Range Riders became a Working Ranch Cow- boys Association (WRCA)-sanctioned rodeo in 2019. Con- testants could compete for invitation to the WRCAWorld Championship Rodeo in Amarillo this Nov. 12-15. Twelve ranches competed in the ranch rodeo. The winning ranch team was Wilson Cattle of Canyon, Texas, combined Total Team Effort Made It Happen Continued on page 28  A Rousing Range Riders Rodeo By Larry Stalcup Contributing Editor LEFT: Terry Rich, co-chair of the Range Riders Rodeo, emphasizes the comradery exhibited by Range Rider members in putting on the successful event. RIGHT: Vic Morrison, Range Riders Rodeo co-chair, praises Range Rider members and their families for huge spirit demonstrated in the Fourth of July weekend ranch and open rodeo. The Range Riders Foundation benefits numerous local youth groups, and supports Type One Diabetes and other charitable organizations. RIGHT: A 30-head open bronc riding showcases the open rodeo that sees tough cowboys and tougher horses battle to impress the judges.