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Annual Kit Carson Day Centered on Celebrating the West and Community Spirit

By Raina Lucero

September 14, 2023

Every year on Labor Day weekend, the quiet town of Kit Carson, Colorado, comes alive with the spirit of the Wild West. Kit Carson Day is a celebration that brings the community together to honor their Western heritage and the community as a whole; this year’s theme, “Obsessed with the West,” added a special touch to the festivities.

The day began with a hearty community breakfast sponsored by the Kit Carson Sophomore Class at the local school. It was the perfect opportunity for neighbors and friends to catch up and fuel up for the exciting day ahead.

The Stephanie Paintin Memorial Arena played host to the rodeo, a highlight of Kit Carson Day. The results of the rodeo showcased the incredible talent and determination of the participants. In the Tiny Tot category, Ryata Stoker and Rhya Stoker dominated the barrels and poles events, while Rylee Stoker, Bailey Weiand, and August Weber put on a remarkable display of skills.

The Flags event was a crowd-pleaser, with Rylee Stoker, Rhya Stoker, Macie Weiand, Bailey Weiand, and Graciana Smith impressing the audience. Rylee Stoker emerged as the All-Around champion, earning the Kenny Wilson Memorial Buckle, while T Cattle Feed & Supply presented Rhya Stoker with the same honor.

In the Youth Open category, Samantha Engelbrecht and Skye Howard showcased their talent in barrels, poles, and flags events. Easton Buzzard and Elsie Oswald also demonstrated their skills, with Easton Buzzard earning the All-Around title and the Stephanie Paintin Memorial Buckle, while Travis Darnell, Matt McNeely, Addison Engelbrecht, and Buddy Weiand excelled in ribbon roping and team roping events, with Matt McNeely winning the Benny Gibbs Memorial Buckle.

The Kit Carson Volunteer Fire Department hosted its annual barbecue, treating everyone to a delicious donation only lunch. Following lunch, the quirky and thrilling duck race in front of the pool hall added an element of fun to the day.

The highlight of the day was the Kit Carson Day Parade, with the theme, “Obsessed with the West.” Joel and Annetta Maxcy received the Kit Carson Day Parade Good Scouts award, and the first-place parade entry honor went to Kit Carson RV Park & Ice House.

After the parade, family games were held at the school, bringing generations together in friendly competition. The evening took a dramatic turn with the melodrama entitled “DK Molar the Devious Dentist,” featuring talented local actors under the direction of Patsy States.

Supper, sponsored by the Junior Class, provided a delicious end to the day’s festivities. And as the sun began to set, the community gathered at Prairie Park for a dance by the school, where the Rodeo Road Apples gave their last performance, marking the end of an era.

The band, which formed in 2008, expressed their gratitude to the community for their unwavering support over the years. “We just want to thank everyone who supported us; those who booked the gigs, those who showed up to enjoy our music, the ones who passed on our info to book the next one and to our families who supported us from home. The memories made are priceless and we’re grateful for it all!”

Their farewell performance was bittersweet, but as the song lyrics remind us, “This is where the cowboy rides away.”

Kit Carson Day 2023 was a testament to the enduring spirit of the Wild West and the tight-knit community of Kit Carson. As the sun dipped below the horizon, the memories made on this day will live on, cherished by all who were lucky enough to be a part of this remarkable celebration. n