Downtown Steamboat cattle drive clears financial hurdles |

Downtown Steamboat cattle drive clears financial hurdles

Traffic in downtown Steamboat Springs was ground to a halt July 6, 2009, as the Saddleback Ranch Cattle Drive sent a herd of longhorns from the west end of downtown to the rodeo arena near Howelsen Hill. Organizers of the popular downtown cattle drive during the Fourth of July holiday have raised the $1,500 needed to bring the event back this summer.

— The cattle drive is back.

One of the best parts of Steamboat's traditional Fourth of July observances has cleared its financial hurdles, allowing cowgirls and cowboys to push a herd of cattle through downtown Steamboat at 10 a.m. July 1.

Organizer Dean Vogelaar confirmed that donors have stepped up to contribute the $1,500 needed to cover an increase in insurance premiums to $3,000 since the drive last took place in 2009.

"Thanks to the generous donations of several individuals and several businesses who contacted me or the (Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association), the necessary funds to cover the required expenses are in place," Vogelaar wrote in an email.

Viewing opportunities will be expanded by routing the drive across the Fifth Street Bridge from the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena and then west down Yampa Street before turning up 11th Street to Lincoln Avenue and heading east to Fifth Street for the return to the rodeo grounds.

Steamboat's Western heritage includes a dusty, old edict from a long-ago city council that banned Sunday morning rodeos on Lincoln Avenue because they intimidated women who were on their way to church.

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Cattle drives on Steamboat's main drag, however, were a necessity for cowboys taking cattle to the railhead for shipment east.

Historical accounts indicate that by 1913, there were more cattle shipped out of the train station here than anywhere else in the United States.

The cattle drives ceased in the 1970s because of changes in the way beef was taken to market.

Western heritage enthusiasts will have the chance to take in five rodeo performances and the cattle drive in the span of nine days during Steamboat's extended Independence Day celebrations, with July 4 falling on a Wednesday this year.

The regular Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series performances begin at 7:30 p.m. June 29 and 30 at the rodeo arena at Howelsen Hill, followed by the cattle drive July 1, a special July Fourth rodeo from 6:30 to 9 p.m. and two more weekly rodeo events at 7:30 p.m. July 6 and 7.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email

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