Cowboys will come to Steamboat Springs to compete in steer roping this weekend. But instead of riding horses, these cowboys will be flying high above the steers in hot air balloons.
The "Rodeo Roping" is one of the events that will take place during the 23rd Annual Community First National Bank Hot Air Balloon Rodeo, part of Steamboat's annual Rainbow Weekend.
In the competition, balloon passengers will be tossing lassos from their balloons, aiming for "steers" placed on targets on the ground. The steers will be made out of hay bales and will have plastic, horned heads.
The balloon riders also will compete in the Don Quixote Race. In this competition, passengers will use a broom with a sharpened nail attached to the end of it to pop target balloons tethered 100 feet above the ground.
Thirty-nine hot air balloons will be participating in the balloon rodeo this year. The balloons will be inflated at 6:40 a.m. Saturday and Sunday in the Meadows Lot and will launch at 7:15 a.m. Admission to the parking lot is free. Coffee, souvenirs and breakfast foods will be sold at concession stands in the lot.
But the Rainbow Weekend events don't stop with the balloon rodeo, said Riley Polumbus, director of public relations for the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association. She predicted that the hardest decision for visitors would be which events to attend, among the many available over the weekend.
"I don't think you can go wrong this weekend," Polumbus said. "There are so many choices."
After hot air balloon activities, the 29th Annual Art in the Park will begin at 9 a.m. in West Lincoln Park. The event is presented by the Steamboat Springs Art Council.
More than 125 arts and crafts vendors will set up tents in the park. There will be more than 40 new vendors at this year's festivities.
Besides perusing jewelry, pottery, leather and photography available from vendors, spectators will be treated to live music that will continue all day long Saturday and Sunday. Admission to the festival is free.
Erin Gilbertson from the Steamboat Springs Art Council said Art in the Park visitors should consider parking in the Stockbridge Transit Center at 12th Street and Lincoln Avenue and walking to West Lincoln Park. She also said she encourages people to ride their bikes instead of driving.
Other weekend events include:
n The North Mississippi Allstars, a southern blues band, will perform at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Howelsen Hill Amphitheater.
n The Strings in the Mountains Festival of Music will present chamber music in "From New York to Vienna: A Musical Journey," a concert that will be held at 8 p.m. today in the Strings Tent. Ticket information is available at 879-5056, Ext. 105, or online at www.stringsinthemountains.org.
n Katie Lindquist and her husband, Moots Bicycles founder Kent Eriksen, will hold a mountain bike clinic in the Steamboat Ski Area today. The co-ed clinic will be held from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
n The PRCA Pro Rodeo Series also will continue at 7:30 p.m. today in the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena.
-- To reach Erin Ragan call 871-4232
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