Steamboat Springs Another cattle drive down Lincoln Avenue could be in the works this year, despite the public's beef with the "udder" gridlock created by a similar event two years ago.
City Clerk Julie Jordan told the Steamboat Springs City Council Tuesday that a cattle drive is one of the events scheduled during the 100th Annual Cowboy Round-Up Days, held over the Fourth of July weekend.
The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, city, rodeo board, Strings in the Mountains and ArtLink have been working together to plan activities over the popular holiday weekend.
This year, Jordan said, cattle-drive organizers have made changes to their plans to avoid the hourlong traffic jam created by the last drive. This year, the event is planned for 10 a.m. Sunday morning and should run from 11th Street down Lincoln Avenue to the rodeo grounds. Sunday morning is one of the slowest traffic times during the week, and the shortened route would keep the bottleneck at 13th Street open.
In 2001, the second annual Soda Creek Western Mercantile Cattle Drive was held on a Friday afternoon and delayed by almost an hour. Traffic was backed up for miles. The cattle were taken from the rodeo grounds up Lincoln Avenue and to the Stockbridge Transit Center west of town.
Crews started blocking off streets at 2:30 p.m. for the 3 p.m. event. A trailer hauling the lead steer and horse was caught in the traffic created by those road blockages, which in turn delayed the start of the drive by about 45 minutes.
The city received complaints about the traffic delays, which Jordan said should be alleviated with this year's plan.
"We are very sensitive to the community outcry," Jordan said. "But (the organizers) really feel compelled to celebrate our heritage."
Bill Montag, who helps organize the event with Dean Vogelaar, said they also would use professionals to drive the 100 cow-calf pairs down Lincoln Avenue.
In 2001, anyone could help lead the cattle down the street and some people even rented horses to do so.
The first organized cattle drive occurred in 2000 for the town's Centennial Celebration. Montag said that event ran smoothly, and requests were made to do the event again.
"The first time went like clockwork. It was the right day and the right time," Montag said.
A cattle drive was not held in 2002, and Montag said it was the chamber that brought the idea back to the table.
The chamber has received requests from all over the country to repeat the cattle drive, which received coverage from all of Denver's major news networks during the Centennial Celebration, Montag said.
Cattle drives down Lincoln Avenue were an everyday event in the early years of Steamboat.
Lincoln Avenue is built wider than most streets of its era to specifically accommodate ranchers moving their cattle through downtown, Montag said.
It was not until 1970 that the last functional cattle drive through Steamboat occurred, Montag said.
"Dean Vogelaar and I are only doing this because it is our heritage, part of the town's past. We are not doing this to get attention. This is just our heritage, and we don't want to lose everything," Montag said.
The year's cattle drive will end at the rodeo arena, where Ranch Day will be held. Montag said Ranch Day allows ranchers to compete against each other in everything from roping to wild cow milking.
Three rodeos also will be held throughout the weekend and a Heritage Party is scheduled for Saturday afternoon on the Routt County Courthouse lawn.
Because a portion of Lincoln Avenue will be shut down, the cattle drive first has to be approved by the City Council.