A team of cowboys competes in the 2005 ranch rodeo at Howelsen Hill.  This year's event begins at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena.

File photo

A team of cowboys competes in the 2005 ranch rodeo at Howelsen Hill. This year's event begins at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena.

Roping up the holiday spirit

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Past Event

Cattle drive

  • Sunday, July 6, 2008, 10 a.m.
  • Downtown Steamboat Springs, Steamboat Springs
  • All ages / Free

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— It seems ranching always has been a part of Steamboat Springs' Fourth of July celebration.

Dean Vogelaar and several other local families want to make sure that never changes.

Vogelaar, who leads the Cowboys' Roundup Days committee, says tradition is one of the reasons Sunday's Saddleback Ranch Cattle Drive on Lincoln Avenue and Mountain Valley Bank Ranch Rodeo are so important to this community.

"We wanted to put the cowboy back into Cowboys' Roundup Days," Vogelaar said. "So Bill Montag and I started the cattle drive and ranch rodeo as a way to get ranchers involved. For me it's all about the tradition. It seemed like the Western events were starting to fade away and we wanted to get them back out in front."

So this weekend, after Friday's Fourth of July and fireworks and just as the holiday weekend is set to start winding down, Vogelaar is hoping that visitors and locals will come out and enjoy a part of Steamboat Springs' long-running tradition.

Both events are free to the public. The cattle drive, which features a herd of Texas longhorns, begins at 10 a.m. Sunday. Cowboys, including guest wranglers who each paid $250 to be a part of the celebration, will drive the cattle down Lincoln Avenue from 13th Street to Fifth Street. From there, the cattle will be moved down Fifth to the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena at Howelsen Hill to be a part of the ranch rodeo, which begins at 5 p.m.

The ranch rodeo features 20 four-person teams of local cowboys and ranchers, competing in an event that combines penning, simulated branding, steer roping and wild cow milking. The team must race against the clock to complete all four events in the fastest possible time.

"Every year the competition seems to get better and better," local rancher Jerad Iacovetto said. "We don't really practice as a team for the competition. But a lot of the ranchers do these rodeos during the summer, and we do this stuff on the ranch every day."

The rodeo features a fun, family atmosphere, but Iacovetto said the competition inside the area can be fierce. He said there are a number of ranch rodeos across northern Colorado in the summer, and teams compete on a regular basis. However, Steamboat's ranch rodeo usually draws one of the biggest crowds.

"I don't really get nervous," Iacovetto said. "I'm just out there trying to get the job done. But it's fun to have a good-sized crowd, and there's no doubt that pumps up the competition."

This will be the eighth year Iacovetto has competed in the local ranch rodeo, but the title has eluded his team.

"We've been close at a couple of other ranch rodeos, but there is no question that we want to win this one," Iacovetto said.

Last year the event was won by the Walden Wildmen, which included Spike Meyring, Coy Meyring, Fred Kayser and Lonny Shoemaker. Second place went to the Berger Ranch from Saratoga, Wyo., and third went to the LK Ranch of Meeker. That team also won the title in 2006 and 2005.

"This is just a fun event to watch," Vogelaar said. "It's a great chance for people to see what happens on the ranch, and the wrecks can be a lot of fun, too."

To reach John F. Russell, call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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