Red Ryder® Award

In 1997, at the 48th annual Red Ryder® Roundup Rodeo, the

Western Heritage Event Center Board began selecting an individual who has made a positive commitment to the western culture of this community and who has been a strong supporter of the

Red Ryder® Roundup Rodeo.

Annual Winners

2019 Red Ryder® Award
JR Ford

     JR and his wife Connie moved from southern California because they wanted to raise their children in the country. They loved Colorado and landed in Pagosa Springs in 1983 and their three children were born here. He worked in custom construction in California and continued that profession in Pagosa Springs as well as owning and operating the Pie Shoppe. His construction career led him to the real estate business and he started Pagosa Land Company in 1991. 

     JR joined the Pagosa Springs Enterprises (PSE) board in 1992. In the early years, JR and Jim Bramwell, along with several other new board members, modified the organization by aligning with new IRS regulations and changed PSE to an official 501(c)3 non-profit organization that also prompted the name change to Western Heritage Event Center (WHEC).

     JR officially retired from the board in 2017. His contribution as a board member over the past 25 years has been transformative for the organization. By the late 1990s, the new leadership had created a financial structure for the annual Red Ryder® Rodeo that helped sustain the rodeo from year to year and also assisted with repairs and maintenance of the arena and grounds. JR established collaboration with the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners around the joint use and maintenance of the acreage that WHEC owns and was instrumental in creating the partnership between WHEC and the county to build the WHEC/4-H building with private donations and a GOCO grant. The Board is very grateful for his generosity in providing in-kind materials, labor and heavy equipment work over the years and his business, Pagosa Land Company, for being the main sponsor of the Red Ryder® Rodeo for over 15 years. JR helped create the vision of building a covered arena and has served on the Hughes Pavilion building committee providing vital direction and work for the project.

     JR continues his support of many non-profit organizations in town and his support for the 4-H program is steadfast and began when his own children were 4-H participants (1991-2005). JR spends his free time with his wife, married 41 years, and their three children and three grandchildren.

     The 70th annual Red Ryder Roundup® Rodeo committee and the Board of the Western Heritage Event Center would like to honor and extend our heartfelt thanks to our very good friend JR Ford for his love of the Red Ryder® Rodeo rodeo, his continued contribution to the western culture of this community, and for his loyalty and friendship.