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Big Thunder Draft Horse Show

Be a part of the excitement these magnificent draft horses exhibit, as skilled drivers navigate their powerful teams in a series of judged maneuvers.

Weighing in at one ton each, Clydesdale, Percheron and Belgian horses decked out in patent leather and chrome harnesses, pull historically restored wagons, as they go head to head in the show ring vying for first place.

 From the Single Cart Classes to the finale’ of the breathtaking Six and Eight Horse Hitches, the competition is steep!

Traveling from across the nation to perform at Big Thunder, many of these hitches hold National and World Champion status.

You can count on them showing at their best to accomplish a winning performance.

An experience you won’t forget!
Come cheer on your favorite Hitch.



  • 5:00 p.m.  Doors & Day of Ticket Sales Available

  • 5:00 p.m. - 6:15 p.m. Barns Open to the Public - Free

  • 5:30 p.m.  Pre Show - Men’s Cart & Show Team

  • 6:30 p.m. Draft Horse Show Performance, Twisted Trick Riders, Stick Horse Race

    Barns open to the public after the show


  • 9:30 a.m. Doors Open Draft Horse University

  • 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.  Draft Horse University

  • 12:00 p.m.  Doors & Day of Ticket Sales Available

  • 12:00 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. Barns Open to the Public - Free

  • 1:00 p.m.  Pre Show - Men’s Cart & Show Team

  • 2:00 p.m. Draft Horse Show Performance, Twisted Trick Riders, Stick Horse Race

    Barns open to the public after the show


  • 8:00 a.m. Working Horse Farm Team Event - Open to the Public - Free

  • 12:00 p.m.  Doors & Day of Ticket Sales Available

  • 12:00 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. Barns Open to the Public - Free

  • 1:00 p.m.  Pre Show - Log Skid Finals & Classic Cart Series

  • 2:00 p.m. Draft Horse Show Performance, Twisted Trick Riders, Stick Horse Race

    Barns open to the public after the show



Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased:

  • Online 
  • Orthopaedic & Spine Center of the Rockies Box Office inside the Budweiser Events Center
    • Monday - Friday | 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
    • Saturday 10 a.m .- 2 p.m.

Day-Of Tickets will be sold at the Mac Equipment, Inc. Indoor Arena. Performances will sell out. Pre-Purchasing tickets is encouraged.

Ticket Pricing

$17.00 Adults (13 years +)

$15.00 Seniors (65 years+)

$12.00 Kids (3-12 years)

Free Kids 2 years & under

Groups of 10 or more can save $3 per ticket! Call Hannah at (970)-619-4122 for more information.


VIP Ticket Pricing

$25.00 Adults (13 years +)

$15.00 Kids (3-12 years)

Free Kids 2 years & under

Draft Horse University - Saturday

$12.00 per person | Must be purchased in addition to the performance ticket

Class Schedule


  • Barns Open to the Public - 5:00pm
  • Pre-Show – 5:30pm
  • Men’s Cart - Group B
  • Show Team – Group A
  • Main Performance – 6:30pm
  • Ladies Cart - Group B      
  • Unicorn Hitch - Group A
  • Entertainment - Twisted Trick Riders
  • Four Horse Hitch - Group B
  • Kids Stick Horse Race
  • Intermission
  • North American Classic Six
  • Barns Open to the Public - After Show


  • Draft Horse University - 10:00am
  • Barns Open to the Public - 12:00pm
  • Pre-Show – 1pm
  • Men’s Cart - Group A
  • Show Team – Group B
  • Main Performance – 2pm
  • Ladies Cart - Group A      
  • Unicorn Hitch - Group B
  • Entertainment - Twisted Trick Riders
  • Four Horse Hitch - Group A
  • Kids Stick Horse Race
  • Intermission
  • North American Classic Six
  • Barns Open to the Public - After Show


  • Farm Teams – Start at 8 a.m.
  • Feed Team Competition
  • Log Skid Preliminaries
  • Barns Open to the Public - 12:00pm
  • Pre-Show - 1pm
  • Log Skid Finals
  • Cart Classic Series
  • Paid Performance 2pm
  • Amateur Cart 
  • Entertainment - Twisted Trick Riders
  • Ladies Team
  • Kids Stick Horse Race
  • Working Horse Team Class
  • Intermission
  • Eight Horse Hitch
  • Barns Open to the Public - After Show

Special Features

Up Close and Personal - Free and Open to the Public

  • We invite you to visit the barns before and after the show. Get ‘Up close and personal’ with these spectacular horses and the people that train, show and care for them. There is nothing like the feeling of being right there in the midst of the excitement as Hitches are readied for their performances.

    Visiting Times
    Friday 5:00pm-6:15pm & post show
    Saturday 12:00pm-1:45pm & post show
    Sunday 12:00pm-1:45pm & post show

Draft Horse University

  • Join us in an informative and interactive session with Brian Coleman, seven times World Champion Teamster, and owner with his wife Colleen of Eaglesfield Percherons in Canada. Topics from shoeing to training, show preparation and more!

  • Draft Horse University is a $12 add-on to Saturday's ticket. A ticket for the afternoon performance must be purchased in conjunction with a Draft Horse University ticket.

Twisted Trick Riders

  • New to Big Thunder this year, we welcome Twisted Trick Riders to the main arena for a performance each show. This group of young people love to wow the crowd with jaw dropping tricks and speed. Let us entertain you!

Stick Horse Race

  • Back by popular demand, the stick horse rodeo returns for each performance! Children 2-10 years of age are eligible to compete through a pattern with the fastest time awarded a prize. Sign-ups take place in the Indoor Arena lobby on a first-come, first-served basis as entries are limited. Stick horses are provided for them to keep. Just bring the kids and their giddy-up and go!

Go Back in Time!

Working Draft Horse Classes - Sunday 8:00 am Free and Open to the Public

  • Draft horses were originally bred to be a working animal doing hard labor as pulling heavy loads, plowing fields and other tasks. Watch the raw power of these horses compete against each other in this Special Farm Team Event in classes as the Feed Team Race and Log Skid Course. You won’t want to miss these primarily local competitors take you to a place back in time!


Show Staff


  • Roger Thoms


  • Tom Walsh


  • Lisa Graham

Big Thunder Committee Members

  • Brian Coleman
  • Kellie Gardner
  • Dennis Kuehl
  • Kit McCollum
  • Raedene Messenger
  • Jack Taylor


  • Ge Wyscarver
  • Laura Ames

Become a Big Thunder Draft Horse Show Sponsor


Interested in supporting the 2020 Big Thunder Draft Horse Show as a partner or sponsoring a hitch? Please contact Dana Drake by email or phone at 970-619-4102 for various partnership opportunities.


  • Ames Percheron Farm
  • Blue Ribbon Days 
  • Crushin Trance Clydesdales 
  • Express Clydesdales 
  • Flintstone Gravel & Trucking  
  • Heisey Percherons 
  • Highpoint Clydesdales  
  • Jackson Fork Ranch Percherons
  • Johnson Belgians
  • Kiefer Farm
  • Kiowa Creek Coaches, LLC
  • Mark Messenger Memorial Hitch
  • Solomon Clydesdales
  • Unhitched Ranch
  • Young Living Essential Oils
  • Yoder Hay & Horses
  • Zubrods Percherons

Farm Team Entries

4-H Bench

BEC Percherons

Blue Moon Carriages

Colorado Carriages

Diamond SR Carriage

Ed Beard

Harley T

Kiowa Creek Coaches

Lange's Clydes

Mad Dog Drafts

Steve Beitz

Tired Boots Stables

White Feather Ranch



Single Cart

The single horse cart was used primarily to travel a stallion from one ranch to another for the purpose of servicing mares. Hence, the name stud cart. In judging the cart class, the judge takes into consideration both the confirmation of the horse as well as its manner of going. A cart horse should have a good snappy trot and carry it"s head up, looking alert. When the judge calls for a walk, the horse should walk and stand quietly when at a stop. A ladies cart horse should be easy to handle so she may practice proper buggy etiquette.

Tandem Hitch

Everyone has heard of tandem axle trucks and trailers but few realize the term originated with horses. When two horses are hitched, one in front of the other, they are a tandem team. This type of team was originally used when the roads and streets were too narrow to hitch two horses abreast but they still needed horsepower. The larger horse us usually hitched directly to the cart or wagon with the smaller one in front as the smaller horses are usually faster. The judge usually looks for a team that is well matched in its manner of going. The lead horse should keep traces tight but not so tight that it appears to be pulling the whole load. A tandem is one of the more difficult teams to drive as you need to keep the horses in a straight line.

Unicorn Hitch

When a team couldn't quite pull a load or get stuck in the mud, an extra horse was added to help the team out, thus adding an extra bit of horsepower. This is called a unicorn. The advantage of having one horse in the lead is all the power is being used to pull the wagon ahead, there being no sideward pull.

The Unicorn Hitch is judged on the confirmation of the horses, manner of going and a small percentage of equipment. This class takes a skilled driver as the lead horse must stay ahead of the team. On the other hand, he must not have to pull the whole load either. The team must be well matched in size and manner of going, and the lead horse, in particular, should be stylish and well mannered.

Two-Four-Six-Eight Horse Hitch

Playing a very important part in the early days were two, four, six, and eight horse hitches as they were being used for work about the cities, especially on brewery wagons. They were used for hauling chores with day wagons. Another team was added as more horsepower was required.

A team hitched directly to the wagon is called the “wheel or pole team”. This hitch is usually the largest since they do most of the pulling, and the backing of the wagon. The middle team is called the swing team. The team in front is called the lead team. When hitching an eight-horse hitch, the team behind the lead team is called the point team. The lead team usually consists of the smaller and faster horses as they must travel a greater distance when the hitch is making a turn.

In judging the combined hitches, the manner of going is of prime importance. The harness and wagon and confirmation of the horses are taken into consideration but they are not as important as how well the horses work together. All of the horses should be pulling equally so that all of the traces are tight thus the skill of the driver is very important.


All entries must be fully completed and postmarked or submitted by the entry deadline. Includes: Completed Entry Form, Stalling Form, W-9/W8BEN (Canadian) and Payment.

  • Hitch Entries Due October 11th, 2019
  • Farm Team / Individual Entries Due November 11, 2019

Click Here For Payment Portal


Visit the link below to access vendor applications.




Vendor applications close on December 20th at 4pm.