Booco bringing bulls back to the fair |

Booco bringing bulls back to the fair

It's with pride and fondness that professional bull rider Jake Booco remembers the glory days of rodeo in his hometown of Hayden.

The Routt County Fair once hosted a full-on Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo annually and after that, a rodeo one step down, featuring pros and amateurs from around the region.

"It's not every day you get to ride in front of your hometown," Booco said. "Steamboat has become my hometown rodeo. It's the closest thing I have — but to actually be riding in Hayden, that's pretty cool."

He said he won plenty, first at National Little Britches Rodeo Association events that featured junior bull riding, among other events, then, as he grew, at the larger fair rodeo contests.

He has his hands plenty full these days, serving on the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo board of directors, continuing with the pursuit of his own rodeo dreams and squeezing in welding jobs whenever he can. On top of all that, however, he's among a group intent on keeping rodeo alive in Hayden at the county fair, and Thursday night, Booco hopes to help put on a show local fans won't soon forget.

For the second consecutive year, he'll play host to the Jake Booco Invitational Bull Riding event at the Routt County Fair Chute Out, which starts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the county fairgrounds.

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Tickers for the event are $15 for adults (13 years and older) or $25 for a ticket to the Chute Out and Friday night's demolition derby.

"It's turning into a pretty big deal," Booco said. "It will definitely be a fun-filled night."

There's going to be enough bucking animals in the ring to back him up on that claim.

Booco was brought into the event a year ago, when organizers hoped to expand upon the saddle bronc riding event and the junior bareback and bull riding events they had played host to.

Still active on the pro bull riding circuit, he was able to lasso enough of his friends and competitors into coming to make a second year a sure thing.

This year, he's expecting between 25 and 30 bull riders, with plenty of pros included. They'll all compete in a long round, then the top 10 will be back in the short round.

They'll ride bulls from four different stock contractors from Colorado and Wyoming, and a big pot will be up for grabs, featuring $2,500 in added money, plus about $125 for each entered rider.

In addition to all of that, there will be a Rocky Mountain Bronc Riders Association saddle bronc riding competition between flights of bulls.

Booco won't compete, and not just because he's still recovering from a stomping he took at the hooves of a bull in Steamboat's rodeo several weeks ago. He hopes to bounce back from that in time to compete in the final weekend of action in Steamboat, Aug. 22 and 23. But even if he were healthy, he acknowledged it might look a little funny if he walked away from his own event with the big check.

Instead, he'll organize, judge and build.

"The reason we have this here during the fair is to draw a crowd," he said. "Steamboat always has a great crowd. I'm trying to build an event where we can have a huge crowd in Hayden again."

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

Routt County Fair rodeo schedule


Ranch Rumpus Rodeo


7:30 p.m. Routt County Fair Chute Out, with Booco Invitational Bull Riding and RMBRA Saddle Bronc riding.


11 a.m. Mutton Bustin’, Open Barrel Race, Junior Bull Riding, Mini Broncs


11 a.m. Mutton Bustin’

Noon, Lil Buckaroo Junior Rodeo

12:30 p.m. Horse racing