- Associated Press - Saturday, June 7, 2014

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - Because of age, the old guy had to give up his job in 2011, but like some retirees, he’s now doing a little teaching.

Turns out, he doesn’t mind being put out to pasture.

Sheep Tick, a 23-year-old rodeo bucking bronco - and a famous one at that - is spending the summer in Colorado Springs at the ProRodeo Hall of Fame & Museum of the American Cowboy. His job is to teach visitors about rodeo horses.

He is getting star treatment, having won every major rodeo in the country from 1995 through 2011, including six Wrangler National Finals Rodeo appearances. His classroom is an upgraded barn and corral. He gets regular exercise, veterinary visits and plenty of scrumptious oats and hay, carrots, apples and access to tasty salt and mineral licks.

The museum hasn’t had livestock on exhibit since the late 1990s. Director Kent Sturman said he has wanted to create the live animal exhibit for educational purposes since he took over the job a year and a half ago.

Sheep Tick and another horse, Dani Girl, started showing off last month. Their first visitors were dozens of second graders, some of whom had never seen a live horse, Sturman said. A few kids, though, were not fond of the barnyard smells.

Another rodeo star, Dusty Dan, will soon be part of the exhibit. The 23-year-old mare made 10 appearances at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in saddle bronc and bareback riding, and was named best bareback horse at the RAM National Circuit Finals.

The museum officials named the exhibit the Zoetis Barn after the animal pharmaceutical and health care company that donated money for animals’ upkeep and to upgrade the barn area so it is accessible to all visitors. However, tall and sturdy tall chain-link fencing keeps the horses and visitors safely apart.

The barn exhibit area will include informational signs, and staff will answer questions about the animal athletes and the organization’s animal welfare program.

The museum hopes to exhibit various horses every summer. Stock contractors will nominate their horses, and a selection committee of museum board member will determine which animals will be on display. The horses on display this summer belong to Harry Vold, an Avondale stockman well known in rodeo circles.

The mission of the museum is to educate the public about the history of rodeo and its impact on Western American culture, and to honor those involved in the profession.

There will be a celebration of the museum’s 35th anniversary on Aug. 6, with free admission to events and activities that will include pony rides, roping demonstrations, stage coach rides, autograph signing by hall of fame inductees, and music by country-western singers. The celebration also includes a golf tournament on Aug. 7, a Cowboy Ball and auction Aug. 8,and hall of fame induction ceremony Aug. 9.

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Information from: The Gazette, http://www.gazette.com