Cattle drive to be part of July 4 celebration

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— Organizers of this year's Fourth of July festivities are trying to put the "cowboy" back in Cowboy Roundup Days with a good, old-fashioned cattle drive.

They need some cowboys and cowgirls to do some of the dirty work, however.

Interested in riding the Fourth of July cattle drive? Call Soda Creek Mercantile at 879-3146 for more information or stop into the store at Third Street and Lincoln Avenue.

"We're saving a special place at the beginning of the drive for longtime historical ranching families in the community, plus new ranchers," said event co-chairman Bill Montag of Soda Creek Mercantile.

The Soda Creek Centennial Cattle Drive begins at 10:15 a.m. July 3 at the rodeo grounds and travels to the new Steamboat Spring Transit Center on U.S. 40. The transit center is an appropriate finishing point because it is where the old stockyards used to be, said Dean Vogelaar of the Centennial Commission, which is organizing the event. The cattle drive will be followed by a barbecue and a concert of cowboy poetry and music at Howelsen Hill.

Montag said they are looking for at least 50 riders, but would love to have 200 or 300, and are extending an invitation to the whole ranching community.

The long-time ranching families would lead the drive, with new ranchers manning the streets and riding drag at the end of the herd. The herd of 180 cattle belong to rancher Bill May, and he still brings the herd up County Road 129, Vogelaar said.

Part of the goal of the cattle drive is to reintroduce the cattle drive tradition to locals and tourists alike as a piece of Steamboat history. The last official cattle drive was down Lincoln Avenue 30 years ago. Montag said the Centenniel Commission also wants to use it as a way to bridge the gap between the new and the old ranchers in the county.

"It's a good opportunity for them to mesh," Montag said.

This event is organized by the Centennial Commission and will be part of the full Cowboy Roundup Days weekend, which includes the True Value/Jimmy Dean Country Music Showdown on the courthouse lawn and fireworks at Howelsen Hill on Tuesday.

To reach Jennifer Bartlett call 871-4204 or e-mail jbartlett@amigo.net

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