Event in Steamboat provides hands-on look at agriculture | SteamboatToday.com

Event in Steamboat provides hands-on look at agriculture

Ranch Rendezvous' animals, exhibits and children’s activities educate on local heritage

Nicole Inglis

Levi Allen, 6, from Steamboat Springs, races around buckets in stick-horse races on Saturday at Brent Romick Rodeo Arena in Steamboat Springs during the Ranch Rendezvous event.

— Many horses in Routt County are working horses, as farrier Michael Henry knows all too well. He shoes six to eight horses each day he goes out.

"It's a neat trade and it hasn't really changed in hundreds of years," Henry said as he wandered around his work truck, outfitted with a mobile workshop including an anvil, power tools and a rack of various-sized horseshoes.

His was one of several exhibits at the annual Ranch Rendezvous expo at the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena on Saturday evening. Folks like Henry shared their trades and their agricultural lifestyles with a steady stream of visitors.

The Ranch Rendezvous, which began in 2001, is a partnership between the Community Agriculture Alliance and Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.

Community Ag Alliance Executive Director Marsha Daughenbaugh said the event is meant to show the relationship between Steamboat's agricultural heritage and everyday life.

"Everyone wants to eat and wear clothing," she said. "And you have to be a fan of ag if you want to do that."

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The event used to be held at the base of the ski area and featured more of a connection to skiing heritage.

Community Ag board member and Ski Corp. employee Deb Werner said they hope to get the event back to the ski area once base area construction is completed.

"A lot of people are coming into town and it just gives them an opportunity to see the other side of things," she said. "There's a lot more products besides just the animals."

This year's event catered strongly to rodeo patrons, who wandered through the exhibits looking at information on wool production, horse rescue, weed spraying and veterinarians.

Children participated in stick-horses races, and the roping practice area was a huge draw.

In one tent, 10-year-old Autumn Hilley repeatedly took her rabbit, Spunky, out of its cage to introduce him to passersby.

"I think we're just here to show people our animals and what we do with them," Autumn said. "I like raising animals because it's fun."

And Spunky wasn't the only creature available for hands-on learning about agriculture.

Next door, Crescent Peak Alpacas had four of the long-necked animals on display, including an 8-day-old baby, and examples of Alpaca wool products.

There were goats, chickens and a few sheep that had been borrowed from the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series.

Susan Shoemaker, who raises sheep and sells the yarn made from their wool, spent the evening arranging the furry farm animals so that visitors could pet them. She showed off the pristine wool near their skin and explained how it was turned into yarn.

She said the event was a chance for children and families to start to connect the dots between local agriculture and the rest of Steamboat culture.

"We still try to keep the rural heritage alive," she said. "It all fits together."

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com

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