Over the years, the Ute Mountain Roundup has welcomed some of the world’s finest bulls, broncos and steers to its arena. For that, the Roundup’s organizers, participants and fans can thank Honeycutt Rodeo Co.
Widely regarded as one of the top stock supply companies in the world, Honeycutt’s storied history and commitment to excellence makes it one of a kind.
Below is the story of the Honeycutt Rodeo Co. and how, over the years, it has helped make the Ute Mountain Roundup what it is today.
A long history
To fully appreciate the quality of the stock provided by the Honeycutt Rodeo Co., examining the company’s long history is necessary.
Originally founded by Roy and Virginia Honeycutt in 1976, the company began as a medium sized operation that hoped to provide quality stock to area rodeos.
Thanks to a strong breeding program, which included animals from Roy’s father, longtime stock contractor, Walter Aslbaugh, the company earned an outstanding reputation.
Located on a 3000-plus acre ranch near Alamosa, the Company currently owns and breeds around 200 horses and 40 bulls.
Now a well-known operation in the rodeo industry, Honeycutt’s current goal is to provide the horse and/or bull of the year on a yearly basis.
A rich breeding program
To provide rodeos with top-notch bulls and broncos, Honeycutt relies on bloodlines that have been developed over many years of breeding.
According to the company’s website, many current Honeycutt broncos are directly related to Sparkplug, a horse that was named the Bareback Horse of the National Finals Rodeo in 1974.
Also part of the company’s breeding program is Colorado Coconut, who was the direct son of a world champion bull, Granted Coconut.
Even with the company’s rich breeding program however, producing successful broncos and bulls is by no means guaranteed.
“It takes a long time,” said current company owner, Jerry Honeycutt. “It takes five or six years by the time you nurture and raise horses that are here (at the rodeo).”
Asked how the company makes its breeding decisions, Jerry Honeycutt explained that oftentimes, it’s a matter of intuition.
“You get a stud that you think is good and you breed it to good mares that have bucked for a long time,” said Honeycutt. “It’s like horseracing. You breed a fast horse to a fast mare and hopefully, you get a fast colt.”
A labor-intensive industry
Once bulls and broncos come of age, the process of transporting them to rodeos around the country begins.
Over the course of the 2014 rodeo season, Honeycutt will provide stock for 18 rodeos around the country.
For a rodeo like the Ute Mountain Roundup, the company utilizes two semi trucks to transport 30 horses, 20 bulls and 40 steers.
“At rodeos, (we employ) about 30 guys,” said Jerry Honeycutt. “They take the weekend and they come and work. Most of them are my family.”
Even with the intense labor required to put on a rodeo however, members of the company stated that the hard work is more than worth it.
Discussing his favorite aspects of stock contracting, Jerry Honeycutt explained that events such as the Ute Mountain Roundup make his job worthwhile.
“Cortez is just special,” said Jerry Honeycutt. “This committee here, they have passion. They don’t spare money and they put on a good rodeo.”
Thanks to the Honeycutt Rodeo Co., the “good rodeo” will once again have good stock this year.