If you haven’t yet planned your annual RV summer vacation, then make sure you pencil Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo at the top of your visiting list. This four-day yearly rodeo in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is a must-attend event that brings tens of thousands of visitors from across the country and even the world. It’s held at the Norris-Penrose Event Center at 1045 Lower Gold Camp Road and certainly puts the area on the map.
From the first day to the last, you aren’t going to want to miss a thing. The first day of the action has kicked off in past years with a parade of floats, businesses, and equestrian riders in Colorado Springs. There are then rodeo performances over the remaining days with bareback riding, roping, bull riding, steer wrestling, live music, and more.
If you’re on a family vacation, then there’s plenty for the kids to do at Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo. There is a family zone with pony rides, mechanical bull riding, face painting, bungee jumping, and a petting zoo. No one will leave this rodeo without having a good time.
When you do leave the rodeo, the wider area delivers on entertainment as well. Colorado Springs is home to some outstanding attractions such as Pikes Peak for the adventurers, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo for animal lovers, and Garden of the Gods.
So if you’re yet to think of somewhere fun to go for your summer vacation, let it be Colorado Springs. Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s up to you to discover the rest.
Tickets to Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo are available from the organizer’s website or at the gate upon arrival. Some discounts may apply if you purchase your tickets online, and they can sell out before the big day. In the past, ticket pricing has varied between $20 and $50 for Endzone, Grandstand, and Box seating. Print your ticket or keep it on your phone for officials to scan upon arrival. When you enter the rodeo arena, you will receive a stamp so that you can enter and exit the grounds at your leisure.
Colorado Springs is around 75 miles from Denver and makes for a beautiful drive, no matter your start point. The area is diverse with vast plains, deserts, and mountainous terrain. While that could prove troublesome to navigate in winter, it’s pleasant in the heat of summer.
Before you begin your travels, make sure you have a travel app such as Google Maps or CDOT available to remain up to date with road conditions. You can then travel along I-25 from Denver to the beautiful city of Colorado Springs. Upon arriving at Norris-Penrose Event Center, you may want to enter the grounds through 21st Street due to known congestion on 8th Street.
In the past, parking spaces at the rodeo have been free, but they are limited. There are packed dirt lots along Lower Gold Camp Road and West Moreno Avenue. The main gate is along Lower Gold Camp Road.
Even though there are no painted lines, there is no guarantee you will be able to find somewhere spacious enough to park your big rig. In this case, prepare to be able to leave your RV at your accommodation and find alternative transportation to all the action.
If you don’t like your chances of being able to park your RV on site, then consider public transportation in the area, or bring your tow vehicle. There is a bus stop a short walk from the rodeo arena’s entrance, with a bus that runs regular routes to the city. If the times don’t align with those of the rodeo on your day of attendance, consider the use of a taxi or private ride service, of which there are plenty to choose.
Every year, around 25,000 people converge upon Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo for a taste of that rodeo action. It’s not possible to cater to everyone, so camping is not available. Instead, there are a whole host of accommodation providers in the area that can’t wait to take your booking.
Even though you can’t camp at the rodeo site, that doesn’t mean you won’t be close enough to almost hear all the action. There are a handful of RV accommodation providers within a short ten-mile distance of Norris-Penrose Event Center. If you fancy a walk in the sunshine, then some will even be close enough for that as well. Spots will fill up fast, so contact your provider of choice weeks in advance.
Much of the entertainment at Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo is viewable from the grandstands and boxes, so once you arrive at the site, you can take your allocated seat. If you want to check out the live music or family entertainment area, then these parts of the venue are all accessible on foot. Packed dirt ground makes traversing the venue without wheeled transport a breeze.
July is the hottest month of the year in Colorado, which means you’re going to achieve that sun-kissed look in no time. Pack light clothing that won’t make you work up a sweat, and accompany it with a cowboy hat and boots to fit right in. Nights can become cool, so don’t be afraid to pack the odd sweater or two to keep the chill off your back.
Aside from your tickets and cash, there won’t be a lot you’ll need to bring into the rodeo venue. Strollers are allowed in the general area, but not the grandstand, and you may bring in unopened water bottles. Don’t worry about packing any snacks, for not only are these not allowed, but the vendors offer something more exciting than soggy sandwiches from home. Pack light for a more comfortable day out and make use of ATMs throughout the venue.
Sun exposure is a given in Colorado, so make sure you’ve loaded up on the sunscreen and have your sunhat and sunglasses at the ready. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to remain hydrated and bring any prescription medication you may require with you. The rodeo event site is a non-smoking venue, but there are two designated areas on the northwest and southwest sides outside the event fencing.
After all the day’s action, you will have no doubt worked up a sizeable appetite by the time you leave. Head back to your RV, crank up your kitchen appliances, and cook up a storm. Ask your accommodation host about any fire restrictions in case you have plans to bring out the charcoal barbeque. If you need to purchase any grocery items, there is a supermarket adjacent to Ronald Regan Highway, and many other convenience stores and markets as well.
If you don’t feel like cooking, then you’re in luck. Colorado Springs delivers on high-quality food from a range of restaurants. From authentic Texas cuisine, through to fast food, BBQ, and even bakery goods; Colorado Springs has it all. The hardest part will be choosing just one place to eat.
If you don’t feel like venturing into the city center for a bite to eat, then you don’t have to while at Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo. Not only are there a range of concession stands and onsite vendors, but deals to be had. In the past, spectators have been able to take advantage of combo meals with BBQ food, a drink, and dessert in a sheltered tent close to the action. There will also be traditional event food such as hot dogs, burgers, and fries. Some accept credit, but a debit card and cash are helpful to carry on you, too.
Military volunteers, security officials, and off-duty police officers will be on site to make sure Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo goes off without a hitch. If you require assistance, feel free to approach any official. Bag searching may take place at any time, especially at the entry gate, so pack light to speed up this process. If you require outside help at any time, the Colorado Springs Police Department is directly across the road from the venue.
Weather in Colorado Springs in July can be hot during the day and crisp and gorgeous in the early mornings as after the sunsets. Daily temperatures average around 80 to 90 degrees and don’t drop all that much below 60 overnight. Before you get on the road, and even during your trip, check your RV fluids and make sure you have enough water at all times.
Trained medical staff remain on site for the duration of the rodeo. If you need assistance at any time, visit the first aid office on the arena’s south side. It’s marked with a red cross to make it easy to identify. For anything more serious, dial 9-11 or make your way to the closest hospital around four miles away from the rodeo. A pharmacy for medical supplies is within four miles as well.