Steamboat Springs A violent cloud of dust, rocks and dirt exploded behind Steamboat Springs chariot racer Richard Green on Sunday afternoon as he drove his team of two horses down the track that surrounds the Romick Rodeo Arena.
"It's kind of like drag racing," Green said. "You just go all out to the finish line."
Green grew up around chariot racing. The driver, who is now in his 20s, says it's just something he learned to do growing up on his family ranch near Steamboat Springs.
"It's just kind of a family deal. We get a couple of horses together and go have some fun, " Green said. "My family has done it forever. My grandfather was one of the starters of it. He was one of the foundation guys and I'm just following the tradition."
Green is one of the drivers who showed up at the Romick Arena for the first summer races in Steamboat in more than 10 years. Drivers came from several local ranches, from around Colorado, Wyoming and Utah.
Traditionally, chariot racing has been a wintertime activity in this neck of the woods. The drivers would show up at the rodeo grounds in the winter to entertain Winter Carnival crowds. But thanks to the Yampa Valley Chariot Racing Club and Horse County Magazine, a new series has grown to include a handful of summer events as well.
"We haven't had summer racing around here in a long time so it's great to get it back. I think it could really grow into a big deal in the future," Green said.
He added that racing on the dirt isn't that different from racing on the snow. It's pretty much the same deal.
"Summer is pretty nice," Green said. "You don't have to worry about freezing."
There were 20 teams and 10 races each day at last weekend's chariot racing. The crowds were also pretty good-sized, despite an abundance of holiday activities.
"It's almost as big as the wintertime crowds. I'm surprised that we got this many people. It's pretty cool," Green said.
To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org