Pikes Peak Range Riders Foundation
Sisterhood: a common term used to describe sororities, religious groups, and of course traveling pants; however, this term has a deeper meaning for the young women involved in the Pikes Peak Rangerette Drill Team. While some girls start at the ripe, young age of twelve, I did not begin my journey until age fifteen. I spent many years prior to my membership of this group as an active participant in the county 4-H program and royalty for my local riding club, always keeping a hand in western tradition, but then my life changed when I passed my test to become a member of this organization.
I remembered watching the team perform when I would attend the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo with my family, and I was envious of how fast the girls were riding and awed by the precision in which they performed their routine. When I finally decided to join the team, I was using the experience as an opportunity to become a better horsewoman and promote my hometown rodeo. My first practice was overwhelming, and I worried about forming bonds with these ladies, as I was known as the “Horse Show Girl”, however that title soon changed to the “Blonde Duo” as I was the blonde on the palomino. Also, as many of the girls remember from my era on the team, my dessert name was “Banana Cream” (again, the palomino theme held strong). I soon realized this team was more than just lipstick, hairspray, and need for speed – these girls became my lifeline as I furthered my career as a rodeo queen by serving as El Paso County Fair Queen, Girl of the West, and during my time competing for Miss Rodeo Colorado. These girls were always at my competitions, heard my speeches countless times, and helped prepare me by asking practice interview questions and critiquing my horsemanship patterns. I was honored to work with two other Rangerette alumni while serving as a Girl of the West, and we all supported each other as countless girls ran for the title over the years.
Now six years after my final performance, I look back on these years with nostalgia, and I am thankful for the friendships formed that have carried me this far. My fondest memory on the team was staying overnight in Denver before performing at the National Western Stock Show. This was my first performance and I still did not know my teammates very well, but I agreed to play Quelf (a glorified board game these girls were excellent at). We shared so many stories and laughed together late into the night, and I had never felt more connected to a group of girls. Today, the two girls I bonded with the most that night are two of my best friends, both of which were in my wedding, and serve as my greatest support system during my time in veterinary school.
Without this team, I probably still would have gone on to be a rodeo queen, and I would still be pursuing my veterinary career; however, the road would have been much lonelier, the hard times more difficult, and the good times less celebratory: overall, my life would be a little emptier. However, since I have this great group of ladies to come back to, I am preparing to travel from my new home in Phoenix back to good ol’ Colorado Springs for the 77th Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo. This year is extra special to the Rangerettes, as we are celebrating our 60th Anniversary! I hope I can encourage all my teammates, and those before and after my time, to join us at this year’s rodeo to celebrate the success of our organization, share stories from the past 60 years, and give back to our rodeo! I am proud to say I was a Pikes Peak Rangerette, as I hope my fellow Rangerettes are, so please join me at our Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, July 15th at the Indoor Arena at Norris-Penrose Event Center!
Story by: Amanda Summers
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To serve as the focused hub of youth equestrian and agricultural activities through a first-class facility, partnerships, programs and proactive community outreach.