Steamboat's ranch rodeo to coincide with downtown cattle drive

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— The traditional ranch rodeo that is part of the Cowboys Roundup Days celebration over Steamboat Springs’ extended July 4 holiday weekend has grown to 20 teams this year, including some from as far away as Saratoga and Wheatland, Wyo.

The date of this year’s ranch rodeo has been moved up from 7 p.m. July 5 to 1 p.m. July 1. Admission is free at the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena in downtown Steamboat.

Ranch rodeo organizer Dean Vogelaar said Thursday the change will allow the rodeo to use the same cattle that will appear in the cattle drive down Yampa Street and back up Lincoln Avenue earlier in the day on July 1, which is a Sunday.

“It gives us that continuity with the cattle,” Vogelaar wrote in an e-mail.

Ranch rodeos celebrate ranching heritage and do not involve bucking broncos. Instead, they focus on events like team penning and faux branding that speak more to the actual chores that take place on a working cattle ranch in Colorado.

In one event, all four of a team’s cowboys compete at the same time. One cowboy ropes and pretends to brand a calf while one ropes and milks a cow. One of the steers in the arena has to be roped and tied down, and the other steer has to be penned.

The downtown cattle drive begins at 10 a.m. July 1. The cattle drive is making its first appearance in a couple of years after a successful fundraising effort will cover the increased cost of the event's insurance premium.

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