Council approves cattle drive down Lincoln

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— City Council members could not resist making a few cow puns as they voted to close down Lincoln and Yampa avenues for a cattle drive during the 100th Annual Cowboy Round-Up Days.

Councilwoman Arianthe Stettner recommended to "mooove" forward with the plans and Councilwoman Nancy Kramer turned her yeah vote into a moo.

Despite the bovine jokes, the decision to allow 100 pair of cattle to lumber down the city's main street as part of the July 4 weekend festivities was not a black and white issue.

Two years ago, a cattle drive on a Friday afternoon created traffic gridlock and enormous public outcry. City Clerk Julie Jordan told the council that changes are being made for this year's event.

Planned for 10 a.m. on a Sunday morning, the cattle drive is expected to cause little traffic disturbance. The organizers also changed the route of the cattle drive, with the cattle starting at the city rodeo grounds, traveling over the Fifth Street Bridge, moving west on Yampa Avenue then turning right on 11th Street to go back down Lincoln Avenue and return to the rodeo grounds.

This route would keep the bottleneck at 13th Street opened and Jordan said side streets would be opened as the cattle moved by them.

The Fifth Street Bridge would be closed for no longer than 15 minutes the first time the cattle crossed it and then closed for 10 minutes when the cattle returned.

"I'm really confident we will get this tight and efficient," Jordan said. "We really want to make this work."

The original plans were for the cattle to be dropped off at 11th Street and then herded down Lincoln Avenue and into the rodeo grounds. Jordan said those plans changed Tuesday morning after organizers decided taking the cattle down Yampa Avenue would give them a chance to calm down, and spectators could easily watch the cattle come down both Yampa and Lincoln avenues.

The cattle would come from the Iacovettos' Saddle Back Ranch in South Routt and 25 professional cattle movers would help move the 100 cows and their calves.

Steamboat's first organized cattle drive went off without a hitch three years ago during the Centennial Celebration.

In 2001, the second annual Soda Creek Western Mercantile Cattle Drive was held on a Friday afternoon and delayed traffic by almost an hour; it 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.

The hour delay was caused when a trailer hauling the lead steer and horse were caught in the traffic, ironically, stopped for the cattle drive.

In 2001, anyone could help lead the cattle down Lincoln Avenue and some people even rented horses to do so.

"We did it absolutely right the first time and did it absolutely wrong the last time. It tied up the whole west end of town," said Dean Vogelaar, who helped organize the first two cattle drives.

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