Cattlemen’s Days, a Rich Gunnison Valley Tradition
The rodeo started out in the 1800’s between spring calving and summer haying, a time when area ranchers took a break to test their skills with riding and roping contests on Main Street. In the early years, the event added horse races and tried out various names such as Pioneer Days and the Helldorado Stampede. By 1901, the celebration came under the sponsorship of the Gunnison Valley Stockgrowers Association and the rodeo officially adopted the name “Cattlemen’s Days.”
Between 1913 and 1928, the rodeo and race events moved to the campus of Colorado Normal School, now Western State Colorado University, using the school’s track and stands. The celebration moved back downtown from 1929 to 1936. When the Cattlemen’s Days Association was created, it built facilities at the current site.
Check out the Gunnison County Library’s archive of Cattlemen’s Days memorabilia.
The Granddaddy of Colorado Rodeos
By Doug and Mary Lou Nemanic
What’s Your Cattlemen’s Days Story?
Cattlemen’s Days has been a big part of Gunnison heritage for over 120 years. We are looking for historical photos, videos, and personal recollections of past Cattlemen’s Days events to feature on this website and social media. There is so much to share! Were you in the parade? Did you or your kids participate in 4-H events? Did you watch a friend get bucked off in mutton bustin’ or a bull ride? We want to hear about it! Use our contact form to share your story.