Cattle drive celebrates heritage

Cowboys, cowgirls lead herd through downtown Steamboat

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— Nadine Arroyo's grandfather was the last man to run sheep down Lincoln Avenue.

That was in the 1930s and Arroyo never had the chance to see it. But on Sunday morning she was one of the hundreds who stood along Lincoln Avenue snapping photos and watching as 100 head of cattle made their way to the rodeo grounds.

With no lost cows or major traffic delays and streets lined with spectators, organizers declared the third annual Soda Creek Mercantile Cattle Drive a success.

After a cattle drive two years ago created traffic gridlock and enormous public outcry, organizers changed the route and time of the drive.

"No cattle were shopping in F.M. Light's. It went really good," organizer Bill Montag said. "We had some really good people help and it looked more professional."

The cattle came from the Iacovetto's Saddle Back Ranch in South Routt County.

The cattle were driven to Scott Flower's Wolfe Run Ranch on Saturday. On Sunday, 20 riders took the herd three miles along Twentymile Road, up 13th Street, down Lincoln Avenue and into the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena off of Fifth Street.

"It went really well for it being the first time the cattle went through town," said Jared Iacovetto, whose mother and grandmother used to drive cattle along Lincoln Avenue from Strawberry Park.

The riders did get caught a little off guard when a train came through at 13th Street, just as the cattle were about ready to cross the railroad tracks. The group let the cattle mill around B&K Distributing until the train passed.

Marilyn Printy was impressed as she witnessed her first cattle drive from the 13th Street bridge. The Detroit woman was in Steamboat Springs for a family reunion.

"It was fascinating to see them and watch them. I am very glad (the riders) are here to control them," she said.

A few years ago, the two Dean families caught the end of the cattle drive. This year the group of nine started watching as the cows crossed the 13th Street bridge and followed the herd all the way down to Fifth Street.

"It was fun to see the cattle go past all the old buildings," said Andy Dean, who brought his family from Fort Collins.

This was the third year in a row the Roy family from Colorado Springs was in town of the Fourth of July. This year they finally caught the cattle drive.

"We were surprised by how much (the cows) didn't seem to like it," Cindy Roy said.

Once herded into the rodeo grounds, the cows were used as part of the ranch rodeo competition and then taken back to the Saddle Back Ranch.

Two years ago during a Friday afternoon cattle drive, traffic backed up for miles on U.S. Highway 40 as the cattle drive was delayed by more than an hour.

But this year, the intersection was only shut down for the few minutes it took the cattle to turn the corner from 13th Street on to Lincoln Avenue.

Steamboat Police Officer Dale Coyner said there were no complaints.

"It was shut down for no more than 15 to 20 minutes," Coyner said. "It was much better than a Friday afternoon."

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