By Dave Smith
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The hats, boots and belt buckles were out in force July 10, as the rain held off for Air Force Space Command night at the 75th Annual Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo.
The rodeo is a traditional Colorado Springs event, beginning in 1937. Since 1946, the proceeds of the rodeo are used to assist service members and their families in the Pikes Peak Region. The focus on the military is a natural fit since the area is where the North American Aerospace Defense Command, U.S. Northern Command, Headquarters Air Force Space Command, U.S. Air Force Academy, Peterson Air Force Base, Schriever Air Force Base, and Fort Carson call home.
Volunteers from local Air Force bases assisted in several ways during the night, including security and ushering guests into Norris-Penrose arena. Prior to the beginning of the night’s big event — the rodeo — a group of Airmen who received recognition by the Interquest Rotary Club in a Salute to Our Troops ceremony were honored in the arena. A video detailing the Air Force space mission was played for the full house as well.
The Salute Our Troops ceremony honored 50 recipients who were selected by commanding officers of local Air Force bases for their outstanding service. Each received a challenge coin in an earlier event in addition to the moment of recognition during the rodeo’s opening events.
Along with the usual rodeo events like bull riding, saddle bronc riding, barrel racing and steer wrestling, those attending the rodeo were treated to the likes of a mounted color guard from Fort Carson, legendary rodeo clown Lecile Harris, the Trick Rider Chicks Equestrian Specialty Act, and the Pikes Peak Rangerettes.