Colin Stalley is on a roll, one that, in the past three years, has earned him prestige among his peers as well as a little additional prize money.
At the end of every season, the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series’ top six saddle bronc riders face off in the annual Pat Mantle Memorial Bronc Ride — a single-ride event paying homage to the late Pat Mantle, a cowboy with long-running ties to the local rodeo series. The winner gets $2,000 in prize money as well as a commemorative Winchester rifle.
For the third year in a row, it was Stalley, a 31-year-old rider from Riverton, Wyoming, winning top honors last season. With a high-flying last run, he again managed to wrestle the title away from four-time Pat Mantle Award winner Brandon Munn, the only cowboy who has won the award more times.
The last three years I’ve been able to make it down to Steamboat enough times to pull off the win, and I’ve had great rides at the last event,” Stalley says.
The contest celebrates Mantle, a Marlboro Man look-alike who grew up raising cattle and horses on his family’s ranch in Dinosaur National Monument and represents all things rodeo in Steamboat. Known for his annual horse roundups in nearby Brown’s Park, Mantle, who died in 1992, played an integral role in developing Steamboat’s rodeo.
When we were kids, if we told our daddy we were hungry, he’d just hand us a stick and point at a jack rabbit.
A fierce rodeo competitor in bronc riding and roping, Mantle created the 7-11 Rodeo Co., became a rodeo producer and rode as a pick-up man into his 50s. He also operated the Sombrero Ranch Stables in Estes Park, Boulder, Grand Lake and Steamboat, helping visitors enjoy time in the saddle. Every fall, some 600 of his horses were returned to northwest Colorado to graze, and he’d round them up again come spring.
He was so tough, in fact, that once, while working a rodeo in Boulder, an ornery bull named Long John known for jumping the fence threw a cowboy and made straight for the railing where two little girls were sitting. Riding his favorite horse named “Fritz,” Mantle roped Long John at the top of his jump and pulled him back into the arena.