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TV show ends filming Sunday

Sunday’s annual cattle drive also will be the backdrop for the finale of a reality TV series that is being filmed in Routt County.

In a new take on reality TV’s popular fish-out-of-water concept, 10 relatives of the rich and famous have been filmed for the past three weeks adjusting to life at Saddleback Ranch as they learn to ride horses and herd cattle. The show is being produced for the E! Entertainment Network.

The show’s finale will feature the 10 novice wranglers — with the help of the regular cowboy crew — herding 100 head of cattle down Lincoln Avenue.

This will be the fifth year the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association has organized a cattle drive down Lincoln Avenue. For the past three years, the cattle have come from Saddleback Ranch.

This year’s cattle drive should be no different, with the exception of film crews, said Riley Polumbus, the communications director for the Chamber.

On the show, the group will be portrayed as leading the cattle into town, but the crew of cowboys and cowgirls who have been helping with the drive for the past few years also will be part of the drive, Polumbus said.

“All those guys will be there for safety reasons,” she said.

The cattle drive will start at 10 a.m. Sunday. The cows, which will have been driven from Saddleback Ranch to Wolf Run Ranch earlier in the week, will come down Twentymile Road and up 13th Street. The cattle drive then heads east down Lincoln Avenue and turns at Fifth Street to end at the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena. The cattle will be used for the Ranch Rodeo later in the day.

Typically, the cattle drive closes Lincoln Avenue for 15 to 20 minutes. Street intersections open as soon as the cattle pass through them.

At Tuesday night’s Steamboat Springs City Council meeting, council members signed off on keeping Lincoln Avenue closed for an extra hour so that the film crew can shoot the show’s finale.

The film crew asked for two hours, which the city thought was too long. Instead, the city was willing to compromise and shut down Lincoln Avenue from Fifth to Seventh streets from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Polumbus said that during the extra hour, the 10 reality-show participants will hand back the symbolic reins to the veteran wranglers. After the horses are handed over, the group will walk to the lawn of the Routt County Courthouse for a special presentation marking the end of the show, Polumbus said.

Producers would like to have a crowd assembled for the presentation, Polumbus said, and she noted they should not have much trouble attracting attention.

“My hope is that once the people watch the cattle drive, a few of them will wander over to the courthouse,” she said.

Polumbus said the Chamber received calls from the show’s producers in March and put them in touch with Saddleback Ranch, which is owned and operated by the Iacovetto family. One of the main attractions of Steamboat Springs for the producers was the annual cattle drive, she said.

Having a reality TV show based in Routt County and ending in Steamboat Springs brings welcomed attention, Polumbus said. And while most of the show has been filmed at Saddleback Ranch, crews also shot footage at Strawberry Park Hot Springs earlier this week.

“It is going to be excellent exposure. It is really good for all of us,” Polumbus said.

On Tuesday night, council members also noted the benefit of having a reality TV show shot in Steamboat.

“This advertising, you can’t buy it,” Councilman Loui Antonucci said.

Although only recently a Fourth of July tradition, the cattle drive has historic roots to the days when ranchers herded cattle down Lincoln Avenue to the railroad yards for shipping.

Lincoln Avenue was built to accommodate those cattle, which once were so numerous that the town was nicknamed the “Cowiest Town in the USA” in the early part of the century.