Springtime found the Belton family in many parts of the state for our son’s livestock judging contests. These contests are an opportunity to spend some time with our son and other families whose kids participate in this unique activity. These trips also are a great way to see other parts of our beautiful state and become familiar with the agriculture side of other communities. Each time we spent a couple of days in other towns, I was reminded of the community support those of us in agriculture enjoy in Steamboat.
Steamboat widely is recognized for its symbiotic relationship between incredible winter skiing and agriculture. County citizens twice have supported measures that fund preservation of open space with tax dollars. The community enjoys unspoiled scenic vistas while many of us in agriculture are able to raise cattle and harvest hay on land that otherwise might be growing houses.
Steamboat and Routt County also benefit from local organizations that participate in keeping agriculture viable in this area. The Routt County CattleWomen organization is among the most active in Colorado. Through numerous events every year, theCattleWomen provide education and beef promotion across the county. This amazing group of ladies (who have ranches, jobs and families) serves barbecue beef at the Winter Carnival, serves the meal at the annual bull sale, supports agriculture families when they need a meal, serves chili at the Relay For Life, creates and sells crafts and beef jerky at craft fairs and participates in beef and agriculture education. Their efforts often make money, which results in the organization awarding thousands of dollars per year in scholarships to area high school seniors. The Routt County Cattlemen also are active in youth education and leadership development and participate in and provide support for local agriculture-related events. The Cattlemen represent their membership on local and state issues that affect agriculture producers.
Routt County is unique among communities with the presence of the Community Agriculture Alliance, dedicated to the preservation of agriculture. The organization’s involvement has a highly effective influence on the success of agriculture in this resort area. In addition to organizing several agriculture-related events, the Agriculture Alliance hosts the Cayuse Classic Barnyard Bash, a fun family celebration of agriculture. The event was Saturday at Sidney Peak Ranch and served as a great way to visit with friends and neighbors while supporting a group that helps keep Routt County a shining example of the wonderful balance of tourism, skiing and agriculture.
Christy Belton is the president of Routt County CattleWomen. She helps her husband raise cattle in the Elk River Valley.