Our View: A drive into the past
June 5, 2012
When it comes to inexpensive marketing opportunities with an eye toward social media and the power of shared photos and videos, it doesn't get much better than a cattle drive through downtown Steamboat Springs. It's precisely for this reason that we urge sponsors to step forward to help raise the $3,000 needed to cover the event's insurance premium.
Two years have passed since Routt County ranchers last drove 200 head of cattle down Lincoln Avenue in the middle of the day. It used to be a regular occurrence in Steamboat Springs; our main street is as wide as it is specifically to accommodate the large herds of cattle driven through town to the railroad depot in decades long since passed. That tradition born of necessity ended in the 1970s because of changes in the way beef was taken to market.
To celebrate the city's centennial in 2000, a group of local ranchers helped organize a demonstration cattle drive. It was popular, particularly among visitors, and it returned in subsequent years — save 2002 — to serve as one of the signature events on the busy Fourth of July holiday weekend.
But for a variety of reasons, it hasn't been back since 2009. Organizers like Dean Vogelaar are trying to change that, and rancher Doug Wheeler has arranged for a herd of cattle to be trucked in to the rodeo grounds this year. Money is an issue, however, as no one applied for special event funding through the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association for a cattle drive this summer. As a result, there's no money in the budget for the $3,000 cost to insure the cattle drive.
It seems like a minimal cost for an event that displays Steamboat's unique Western and agriculture heritage. We don't think many visitors will forget the time they were in Steamboat and a cattle drive stopped traffic in the heart of downtown. Better yet, we know many of them will share photos and videos of the experience with their networks of friends and family. It doesn't take much before some of those images and video clips slip their way into mainstream media broadcasts across the country. As an example, this newspaper's recent photo and video coverage of the tranquilized black bear that fell from a tree was included on at least 75 TV news broadcasts throughout the nation.
When put in that context, $3,000 should be a manageable number. Interested in making the cattle drive a reality this summer? Call the Chamber's Sarah Leonard at 970-875-7006.