story by Siri Stevens The North Park Never Summer Rodeo has been a mainstay in Walden, Colorado, for more than 75 years. “It’s a weeklong […]
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Meet the Members Atkinson Family
story by Siri Stevens
Julie Atkinson, her husband, Dale, and 19-year-old Chase make their home in Elizabeth, Colorado. The family ropes together, and made the decision this year to join the CPRA…again. Dale joined the CPRA the year it started – 1974. “It was called the CSRA then – I was 13 and it was awesome.” He was a member for almost 20 years. “I won the team roping in 1975 at the age of 14.” Dale and Julie met at a team roping jackpot. She was about to turn 21 and she was headed with Connie Harris to the NARC finals. Dale was roping with Larry Harris at the time and Julie fell in love with Dales black horse, Cadillac. “We all traveled together to El Paso to the NARC finals and when Connie asked me my opinion of Dale, my answer was that “He talked too much.” In spite of that, they dated for seven years and got married April 14, 1996, the day before tax time.
Chase was born February 2, 2000, and spent his younger years playing baseball and basketball. “He didn’t rope too much – and my dad took him to Pueblo to the National Little Britches to watch their finals and he came back ready to rope.”
Chase has been roping off a horse since he was 12, starting in the junior rodeos when he was 14, and Dale roped with him in the parent child of the Colorado Junior Rodeo Association. The 6’8” #5 header can also heel (#5) and his talents landed him a full ride scholarship to Eastern Wyoming College. “It’s where my dad went and it will give me my basics so I can go on and get a degree in computer science.” He is taking a careful approach to his future, opting to get a degree instead of relying on his rope. Thanks to the scholarship money he got through the Colorado Junior Rodeo Association and the National High School, he is able to make the rest of his expenses in college. His success with a rope has earned him six saddles countless buckles. “My favorite prize was my first state saddle that I won as a sophomore and my partner (Clyde Bolejack) was a freshman.”
“We’ve been following him,” admits Julie, a #4 header. “We’ve been to Gallup, Rock Springs, and lots of places.” She has been showing in the ranch horse and working on her roping skills.
Julie had to give up horses and roping after she broke her pelvis in an ATV accident ten years ago. “It got so bad that I could hardly walk without pain,” she said. Thanks to modern medicine, Julie is once again on a horse, showing in the ranch horse and roping. “I’ll enter the mixed roping with Dale.” She is also a veteran member of the CPRA, winning Rookie of the Year in 1992 with Dale. “We are excited to be joining the CPRA again,” said Julie. “We used to go hard when we were young.” 1994 was the last year they went due to starting a business and a family. “Funds were tight and we had to focus on work.”
Now the family can afford both the entry fees and the time away from their businesses. .” Dale works as a carpenter for Harmony Land & Cattle Company and Julie is a realtor for Re/Max, where she has been for 18 years. They also are working together in property development. As for her hopes for her first year in the CPRA, she is just happy to be back on a horse. “I don’t have any expectations – I’m a social team roper.”
Dale on the other hand is hard core. “I enjoy going and seeing all my friends – but I still pay attention to the pen of cattle.” His goal this year is to catch for his wife and son. “I’m hoping to help Chase win Rookie of the Year.” The #6 header and 7+ elite heeler is happy to be back in the association. “It’s a good association – Julie can rope with me and we can get Chase out there.”