100th Winter Carnival comes to a close | SteamboatToday.com

100th Winter Carnival comes to a close

Street events, Diamond Hitch Parade mark end of action-packed carnival

John Piret competes Sunday in the shovel race competition during the street events of the 100th Winter Carnival.

— There were the usual highlights.

Hundreds of people packed the frigid base of Howelsen Hill on Saturday night to see skiers with flares zoom through rings of fire as big fireworks exploded rapidly above.

Athletes on Sunday held on tight to ropes and shovels as they were dragged by horses in front of hundreds of cheering spectators.

And a brave boy named Bennett Gamber leapt 44 feet on his skis to win the longest donkey jump.

Sure, these types of things usually happen at the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival.

But the 100th was a little bit bigger and a little bit better than many before it, 13-year-old Brenden Andrews explained.

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And it had to be.

"It’s just really amazing to be a part of this," Brenden said Sunday afternoon as horse-drawn carriages and a band of skiers wearing read coats and black cowboy hats proceeded down a snow-covered Lincoln Avenue at the close of the 100th Winter Carnival. "Everyone just knew they were a part of history."

A morning of street events and the Diamond Hitch Parade closed out the 100th year of the Winter Carnival in Steamboat Springs.

With spectator space on the rope lines hard to come by, some took to the rooftops to watch the annual spectacle that was aided this year by some fresh snowfall.

Others clanged cowbells and blew on whistles.

And for many of the former carnival queens who rode in the parade to celebrate their place in history, the 100th carnival did indeed feel a bit different.

"It was phenomenal," Jo Semotan said as she rode her horse, Rosie, in the parade. "I’ve never seen such a show."

Semotan said the crowds for Saturday’s Night Extravaganza seemed bigger than in previous years, and the firework display seemed bigger and brighter.

She joked that she would need a lot of sleep to recover from the action-packed weekend.

While this year’s parade and carnival brought back many people who long have trotted down Lincoln or skied down Howelsen with the Lighted Man, it also brought new players.

"It was cool to see our friends on the sidelines," Steamboat Springs Middle School student Alta Kaster said after she skied in the parade with her friends on the school’s Nordic ski team.

Teammate Teagan Ludwick said she long has wanted to participate in the parade and carnival that she said is an important staple of her hometown.

"It just makes Steamboat special," Teagan said. "Honestly, I don’t know of a lot of towns that do this."

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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