SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
Allison Mitchell, Girl of the West, and Jamie Tyler, Aide to Girl of the West, with their horses Willie and Jolene, visited Schriever Air Force Base, June 24.
They visited the base to raise awareness and support for local military and their families as well as increase the awareness of the 2016 Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo, which takes place July 13-16.
The girls arrived on Schriever with their American Paint and Quarter Horses and proceeded to ride over to the Child Development Center and visit the children and workers. They received an overwhelming response from the children.
“Hi cowgirls! I love horseys!” said Anna Hagberg, a child at the CDC.
All the children able to come out to greet the Girls of the West were able to get face time with the girls and also pet Willie and Jolene.
Mitchell enjoyed herself as well. “This is one of my favorite stops during this visit,” she said.
From there the girls received a 50th Space Wing mission brief from Col. Anthony Mastalir, 50 SW vice commander, and 1st Lt. Kelly Caggiano, 50 SW Commander’s Action Group chief.
"During their visit, the Girls of the West, Allison and Jamie, learned about the 50th Space Wing and Team Schriever missions. Their presence on base, and the work of the Girls of the West program in general, has always, and continues, to help boost the morale of our Airmen and their families," said Mastalir.
Members of Team Schriever had an opportunity to have lunch with the girls and listen to their speech concerning the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo at the Chief’s Barbecue. Chief Master Sgt. John Bentivegna, 50 SW command chief, introduced them to the base populace.
“It was great to have the Girls of the West visit us during the Chief's Barbecue. They are representative of the men and women who have made the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo possible since 1937. They are dedicated and involved ladies who work to support military families across the front range while promoting the western way of life. A city boy myself, it was a special treat for me to see their horses during the visit. It's the hard work of these girls and the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Board of Directors who make events like the Chief's Barbecue possible. Their support is critical to the health, morale and welfare of the Airmen of the 50th Space Wing,” said Bentivegna.
Following the Chief’s Barbecue the girls visited the Missile Defense Agency and the High Plains Café where they received a quick mission brief, gave their speech to MDA personnel and signed autographs.
Finally, they visited the 22nd Space Operations Squadron and received a tour and a briefing on the operations of the squadron from Capt. Katherine Williams, network crew commander, and 2nd Lt. Gregory Allen, network crew commander.
The Girls of the West program consists of two young Rodeo Ambassadors, and is coordinated by Corliss Palmer, the program’s director since 2002. The program traces its roots to 1922 and helps promote “the western way of life” at the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo and other events.
According to the Pikes Peak or Bust website, the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo has been a Colorado Springs tradition since 1937, showcasing the top rodeo talent and action, while providing wholesome entertainment for the Pikes Peak community to enjoy. Spencer Penrose, an avid sportsman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, founded the Rodeo and in 1938, presented the “House that Spec built” – the 10,000-seat Will Rogers Stadium across from the Broadmoor Hotel. The name was changed to the Spencer Penrose Stadium after his death in 1939, and the Rodeo continued in that location, under the guidance of community leaders committed to Penrose’s legacy.
The Pikes Peak or Bust rodeo is the second oldest event in Colorado Springs. Since 1946, the proceeds of the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo have been utilized to help support service members and their families in the Pikes Peak Region. Colorado Springs is home to the United States Air Force Academy, U.S. NORAD/NORTHCOM (home to American and Canadian joint forces), Air Force Space Command, Schriever Air Force Base, Peterson Air Force Base and Fort Carson.
The 76th Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo will take place at the Norris-Penrose Events Center and will feature seven events including bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing and bull riding. There’s also the crowd favorite — mutton bustin’ where a trophy is awarded to the winner at each performance.
Military are honored at each performance — Fort Carson Wednesday evening, Missile Defense and 302nd Airlift Wing Thursday evening; Air Force Space Command, Friday evening; Air Force Academy Saturday matinee; and NORAD/NORTHCOM Saturday evening.
For more information, visit www.pikespeakorbust.org.