2013 marked the 20th year of the Hueco Rock Rodeo in Hueco Tanks, Texas, making this one of America's longest-running outdoor climbing competitions, according to event organizer Melissa Strong. 

Jon Cardwell on Phantom Limb (V12), Hueco Tanks, TX. Photo: © Justin Roth
Jon Cardwell making quick work of Phantom Limb (V12), at the Hueco Rock Rodeo.

This year's event was an all-around success, with 150 people registering for Saturday's bouldering competition and over 300 attending the after-party/dyno comp/awards ceremony. Attendees came from all over the country, with strong representation from Texas, New Mexico, and other neighboring states. A youth competition on Sunday drew families from Los Angeles, Michigan, and from just across the Mexico border, in Juarez. 

The main event required competitors to climb six problems from a list of selected climbs provided by event organizers. Paul Robinson and Angie Payne won the men's and women's Open division contests, respectively. Robinson's impressive tick list included a V14, a V13, and four V12s. Payne completed a V11, a V10, and a V8.

Petzl athlete Jon Cardwell made a strong showing at the event, coming in fourth behind Robinson, Sam Davis, and James Webb. 

Nina Williams working Mo Mojo (V11), Hueco Tanks, TX. Photo: © Justin Roth   Same Davis working Bastard in a Basket (V13), Hueco Tanks, TX. Photo: © Justin Roth
Nina Williams [left] on Mo Mojo (V11) and local Sam Davis on Bastard in a Basket (V13).

This year's event was different from previous Rock Rodeos in several ways. For one, the American Alpine Club now runs the Hueco Rock Ranch. Renovations to the adjacent barn allowed for bigger and better festivities before and after the competition. "The tremendous help provided by the AAC throughout the entire organizational process helped make the event more solid," Strong remarked.

Also of note were the funds raised. Entry fees, raffle tickets, and other donations totaled over $9,000, to go to the Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site. The event also raised $1000 for the Climbers of Hueco Tanks Coalition, which is working to get climbing historically acknowledged in Hueco. Additional funds went to help bring kids from a local youth outreach program to the youth comp. 

After-party at the Hueco Rock Ranch, run by the American Alpine Club. Photo: © Justin Roth
The after-party just getting warmed up at the American Alpine Club's Hueco Rock Ranch.

Although the total number of competitors is limited to reduce impact to the park, which contains many unique and delicate examples of Native American rock art, as well as potshards and remnants from settlers who moved through the area in the 1800s, the Friday night festivities have continued to grow. The youth comp, likewise, grew from a few competitors last year to 21 this year.

This great event at one of the world's best bouldering areas fills up fast, so keep your eye out for sign-up dates for next year (links for more info below). Congrats to the Rock Rodeo organizers, the competitors, the park, the many event volunteers, and the American Alpine Club on a job well done! 


 Hueco Rock Rodeo 2013 Slideshow


 More info on the Hueco Rock Rodeo