Bulls, barrels, mutton and mini’s elevate cash in Kiowa, Colo.

The fifth annual Responder Relief Rodeo was held on Saturday evening (August 21, 2021) at the Elbert County Fairgrounds in Kiowa, Colorado, and the community supported it in greater numbers than it has ever been in the past four years. The Bull Riding, Barrel Racing, Mutton Busting and Mini Bulls event raised funds for the Responder Relief Foundation, a 501 (c) 3 organization that provides funding to families of fallen first responders and seriously injured first responders. With an estimated crowd of 800 to 1,000 people, the organizers were delighted with the numbers.

Covered stands at the Elbert County Fairgrounds hold only a portion of the estimated 800-1,000 people who turned up in Kiowa, Colorado to attend and support the fifth annual Responder Relief Rodeo on Saturday, August 21, 2021.

“We were very, very satisfied,” said Mark Maykowski, president of the Responder Relief Foundation. “It was a very good audience for this area.”

The full grandstand was entertained the whole evening by over 40 bull riders, eight barrel racers, 24 mutton breasts and 10 mini bull riders. It all started with mutton smashing, and registrations for the family-oriented event gave an early signal of what the response would be to the Saturday night rodeo.

Mutton Busting’s contestants were brought into the arena by numerous rodeo queens to collect their prizes after attending the fifth annual Responder Relief Rodeo in Kiowa, Colo. On August 21, 2021, contestants two weeks prior to the rodeo date.

“We were full of mutton two weeks before the rodeo,” said Maykowski. “We drove 24 this year. We want to expand that, of course, because children are dynamite. “

The kids were also dynamite in another event meant for entertainment. In between flights of regular bull riding, the Bijou Buckers Mini Bulls brought their fully matured – but smaller – bulls and mated them with appropriately aged participants in a competition that brought the loudest cheers of the night. With a category 5 and below (Walk Trot) and several other categories ranging up to 14 years of age, the mini-bulls and the young people on board put on a good show.

“That was unbelievable,” Maykowski said of the mini-cops. “We definitely want to repeat that.”

In the Mini Bulls competition, the Walk Trott category is for 5 years and younger. Mini-bull suppliers Cory Hazen (to the right of the bull) and Duncan Cornell (to the left of the bull) from Bijou Buckers Mini Bulls ensure that the ride for the young Aspen Yowell goes smoothly in the audience-friendly Mini-Bull-Riding exhibition.


The main attraction of the evening was the big bulls and the action didn’t disappoint. Event organizers hired warehouse contractor Ty Rinaldo and his Colorado-based company TZ Bucking Bulls to produce the 2021 Rodeo, and they were pleased with the results.

Bulls like this one from warehouse contractor TZ Bucking Bulls provided plenty of action during and after every bull ride at the fifth annual Responder Relief Rodeo in Kiowa, Colorado (Saturday, August 21, 2021). Once the rider was gone, many cops would look for something or someone else in the arena or near the rails to challenge them. “It was a great event and I am honored to be a part of it,” said Ty Rinaldo, warehouse contractor for TZ Bucking Bulls.

“That’s what happens when you bring in animals of PBR and PRCA quality,” Maykowski said of the action of annoying bulls who threw their riders and stormed through the arena looking for other targets. “This was our first year at (TZ Bucking Bulls) and it was an absolute dynamite upgrade.”

“I was honored to be a part of it,” said Rinaldo. “We had great riders and a great group of bulls (and) we whistled some bulls.”

In addition to the rodeo, the mission to help the families of fallen first responders and the seriously injured seemed to resonate not only with the public, who turned up in large numbers, but also with those who were part of the rodeo.

“What a great tribute to fallen heroes,” said Rinaldo of the focus of the event. “You have worked really hard to help the families of fallen heroes, and that is greatly appreciated. It means a lot that it helps the families of fallen police officers. “

The bullfighter Jacob Rutherford, showing more concern for the cowboy’s protection than for his own safety, jumped onto the back of this bull to free the hand of a bull rider who was trapped by the spinning bull and in danger. “He jumped right in and helped people get into a mess,” said warehouse owner Ty Rinaldo of his selfless bullfighter. “They are heroes for sure.”

The origins of the Responder Relief Foundation date back to a 2016 tragedy in Park County Colorado that killed one MP and seriously injured another (seven times) while serving an eviction notice. Maykoswki’s brother-in-law was shot multiple times, and Maykowski experienced firsthand the lack of resources to help families of fallen first responders and the seriously injured. After this experience, the foundation was established and a fundraising rodeo was designed.


The good audience in 2021, along with the best sponsorship support in the event’s five-year history, rallied to raise around $ 12,000. Unlike many other charities who use only a portion of the proceeds from an event directly for their mission, the Responder Relief Foundation goes all out.

The eight best finishers in barrel racing slack came back to compete for first place in the middle of the fifth annual Responder Relief Rodeo at the Elbert County Fairgrounds on August 21, 2021. Sierra Rucker raced to victory with a time of 18.535 seconds.

“With our foundation and the rodeo, we (personally) do not earn any money with it,” emphasized Maykowski. “We left everything – 100% – to the first aiders. No percentage of the proceeds; all of it. As far as I know, we are the only ones who do that. “

As a result of the community reaction that made it the best year ever, Maykowski said they want to expand.

A bullfighter gained a new perspective after being tossed into the air by one of the bulls on August 21, 2021 at the 2021 Responder Relief Rodeo in Kiowa, Colorado. Eleven warehouse contractors brought three cops each, and most of them were high-ranking beasts with a bad attitude. While this bullfighter has been described as “very sore the next day”, he’s fine.

“It has grown every year and we are finally big enough that we can watch a two-day event and expand it even further,” he said. As they seek to expand, they must also try to make the best possible decisions regarding their financial commitment to the foundation’s purpose. “(There are) other things to look at when you do,” Maykowski added. “We can consider getting a band for a concert on Friday evening. There are many things that we can look at with an extension. “

To the enthusiasm of the audience in 2021, there is a commitment from the bull supplier.

The American flag, backed by flags that aid first responders and law enforcement agencies, was part of the grand entry ceremony before the action began on Saturday, August 21, 2021 at the fifth annual Responder Relief Rodeo in Kiowa, Colorado. The event raises funds for the Responder Relief Foundation, a 501 (c) 3 that helps families of fallen first responders as well as seriously injured first responders.

“I would love to come back,” said Rinaldo of his role as part of the rodeo future. “It was a great event and I’m honored to be a part of it and can’t wait to work with you in the future.”

“Very, very, very satisfied”, Maykowski reacts to the successful event in 2021. “We are organizing a few other events (and) announcing all of our events on our Facebook page. Not only are we stuck in the rodeo, but the rodeo is definitely our mainstay. “

At the start of the 5th Annual Responder Relief Rodeo in Kiowa, Colorado, flags were carried into the arena in honor of first responders. The popular bull riding, barrel racing and mini bull riding event raised donations for the Responder Relief Foundation, the families of fallen first responders, along with help from first responders who were seriously injured.

For more information on the Responder Relief Foundation, visit their website at https://www.b4tf.net – call them at (303) 500-5275 – find them on Facebook – or send an email to buckin4thefallen@outlook.com.

The crowd turned up for the main bull riding, but the loudest cheers of the night went to the Mini Bull attendees, who attended the rodeo as an entertainment exhibit. In this photo, Ethan Geiger of Bellvue, Colorado celebrates a successful ride aboard a Bijou Buckers Mini Bull while standing on the top railing of the arena fence soaking up the applause from the crowd.