99th annual Winter Carnival comes to a close | SteamboatToday.com

99th annual Winter Carnival comes to a close

Street events, Diamond Hitch Parade complete 99th Winter Carnival

Springer Spaniel Hoyt pulls Tristan Thrasher in the doggy dash race on Sunday at the Winter Carnival in Steamboat Springs.

— Before plows methodically peeled the Winter Carnival snow off Lincoln Avenue on Sunday, Max Sauerbrey, 11, reflected on the impressions he and other young athletes were able to make on Steamboat's thoroughfare.

"It was a pretty awesome experience," Max said near the Space Station gas station after the Winter Carnival events. "Everyone got cheers from the crowd, even from the strangers."

Max was one of many athletes who spent the weekend skijoring, slaloming and ski jumping on Lincoln in front of hundreds of spectators who pressed up tight against rope and net barriers to get a closer look at the horses that thundered down the street with an athlete in tow. The patter of the horses' hooves running hurriedly through the snow, and the many sounds created by a boisterous parade were rivaled only by cheers from the crowds who even secured spots on rooftops to witness the Yampa Valley tradition.

Standing at the south end of downtown, Evergreen resident Kathy Grider said she was fortunate to stumble upon the festivities unexpectedly after she walked her dogs along the Yampa River Core Trail.

"I'm really glad I found this," Grider said as Steamboat Springs High School's marching band prepared to ski down Lincoln Avenue with snowcats, wagons, snowmobiles and horseback riders close behind. "It's fun to watch because it's so Steamboat. It's a great combination of horses, skiing and snow."

For Davis Petersen, Sunday's Winter Carnival events were about air.

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"I went a lot farther than I thought I would," Davis said after posting a nearly 22-foot-long leap in Sunday's donkey jump competition that had athletes go off a small ski jump after being towed by a horse. "I like the speed and the exhilaration."

He didn't match the 30-plus feet jumps some of the other athletes were able to record, but Davis still was pleased with his run.

The final hours of the 99th annual Winter Carnival on Sunday were preceded by a firework display and the Lighted Man presentation on Howelsen Hill on Saturday night. Sunday's events included an obstacle course, and one race that had dogs and dads pull children on sleds towards a finish line.

As throngs of people hurried into downtown restaurants, shops or back home after the parade had run its course, athletes River Fox-Welch, 12, and Colton Creamer already were thinking about next year's Winter Carnival.

"It'll probably be bigger because it's the Carnival's 100th (anniversary) next year," River said. "Maybe they'll add another event."

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