Everyone knows that cowboys are the toughest sonuva guns around. And cowgirls? Well, they’re tougher than a two-dollar steak.
That’s why thousands crowd into the Eldon Evans Expo Center on the College of Southern Idaho campus for the annual Cowboy and Cowgirl Boxing Smoker.
“It’s a pretty packed house once that Saturday comes around,” says Steve Birnie, CSI rodeo coach.
This year’s boxing extravaganza, the 31st annual, will be held Saturday, Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. The event’s proceeds go to help the nationally-renowned CSI rodeo team with operating expenses and scholarships.
The man who made CSI rodeo what it is today, former coach Shawn Davis, started the Boxing Smoker during his tenure and the event has grown each year. First-year coach Steve Birnie hopes to carry on the tradition.
“When Shawn first started it, boxing was to help kids get in shape in the winter. Then he thought they might be able to raise a little money at it, and now it’s grown and evolved from a small deal to a big event,” Birnie says.
The team invites other rodeo teams from the region to come fight, which helps build rivalries between the college rodeo teams in this area of the country.
“We try to put together good fights,” Birnie says. “We want a good show for the crowd. They are all amateurs, so all the rodeo kids who want to fight, we try to match them up by height and weight and ability level. We want good fights.”
While the crowd may not observe the sound techniques of trained boxers, it is guaranteed to see wild jaw-jarring, fist-pounding, lip-splitting brawls that only true cowboys and cowgirls can deliver.
“People love the fights because they know that the (cowboys/fighters) don’t know what they’re doing,” Birnie says.
Besides a night full of cowboys and cowgirls beating the snot out of one another, the event includes various other entertainment and giveaways.
Tickets range from $10-30. They can be purchased at the Eldon Evans Expo Center or Latham Motors.