Some of the fanciest horse trailers under the sun started rolling into Steamboat Springs Monday, a sure sign that the annual Derby Classic cutting horse competition is on its way.
Organizers of the eighth annual Steamboat Springs Derby Classic are expecting it to be one of the richest and largest events ever held here.
The cutting horses will get started on Wednesday at the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena in downtown Steamboat.
"I think it's safe to say that this will be the largest ever," spokeswoman Donna Huff said. "But we are still taking entries."
Huff said the reason for the growth in the event has to do with an added $217,000 in prize money. That added money will bring the total purse to almost $400,000 this year.
"That's the most money we've ever offered," Huff said.
Last year, $104,250 in added money helped draw about 400 entries for the weeklong event. This year, organizers are expecting all of the top riders to be in Steamboat Springs for the annual event.
Events will begin this Wednesday and run for seven days. All of the events will occur in morning and afternoon sessions. Social events are planned for the evenings.
In cutting, specially trained horses separate a single cow from a herd and, without the rider's help, keep that animal from returning to the pack.
Horses and riders are separated into divisions based on ability and the age of the horse. Some of the animals are worth more the $25,000.
The horse and rider are judged by a panel of officials and scored based on the team's performance.
The Steamboat Springs rodeo will continue with nightly performances on Friday and Saturday. The two events are not expected to conflict since the cutting competition is scheduled to be finished for the day before the evening rodeo begins.
The cutting competition is open and free to the public. Huff encourages fans who are not familiar with cutting to talk to contestants and owners.
"You can ask a cutter just about anything and they will be willing to help out or explain something," Huff said."We are expecting an oversized crown this year and we are also expecting to have a lot of fun."
To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org