Rodeo series returns to Steamboat Springs | SteamboatToday.com

Rodeo series returns to Steamboat Springs

Tie-down roper A.J. Roberts of Delta dismounts his horse after roping his calf during a 2006 rodeo at Brent Romick Rodeo Arena. The Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series returns today for its 10-week summer run. The rodeo starts at 7:30 p.m.

— It’s been a wild week for stagehands behind Routt County’s signature summer show.

The 2008 Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series gets kicking tonight at the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena at Howelsen Hill in downtown Steamboat. A pre-rodeo barbecue complete with live music, starting at 6 p.m., will welcome the event’s 10-week run in town.

Announcer and rodeo board member John Shipley said he won’t relax until the final song plays ahead of the 7:30 start to the actual rodeo. A week of last-minute preparations and a string of last-second problems created an intense Thursday for Shipley.

“I’m a little fried right now,” he said Thursday evening, able to chuckle at the hurdles he’d overcome since his 2:45 a.m. wakeup call. “You have challenges getting ready every year. This year we have the computer that runs the message board, it dies. Then you have to get a new one and Microsoft decides to shove Windows Vista down your throat. I’ve been on the phone all day with a computer geek.

“It’s coming together, though.”

The rodeo will be in Steamboat every Friday and Saturday until Aug. 16, starting tonight. It all gets easier from here, Shipley said.

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Those involved with the opening night rodeo said they expected a few first-night glitches. None expected that to dim the bright lights, however, and all were confident Steamboat is in store for another summer of fine performances.

Brent Romick, the arena’s namesake, said he’s eager for the festivities to start. Thursday night was the 28th time he’s sweated through the opening-rodeo jitters.

“The first one has always got something I can never predict,” he said. “But, what we try to do is to create a very, very good sustained quality spectator event. We always want to put out consistent, quality, family entertainment.”

Consistency is the goal not from night to night or week to week, Romick said. It’s the goal from year to year, and that has helped the Steamboat series stand out.

It’s that which makes him confident there’s no last-minute glitch that can make the rodeo throw a shoe.

“The monster example of how we’ve done that, three of the last five years we’ve been nominated to be small rodeo of the year,” Romick said. “That means we’re doing it right.”

Fans should have plenty to get excited about. A strong list of 266 competitors is scheduled to compete.

A cool night might greet spectators. The rodeo series was bumped one week ahead from last year’s schedule, and the luck couldn’t have been worse as Steamboat is mired in a late spring.

Romick said the cool night will be welcomed by the event’s four-legged competitors. Shipley didn’t figure the weather to slow any two-legged rodeo-goers, either.

“People will still be excited about the opening week of the rodeo and the rodeo returning. The locals have a pent-up desire to come, and they’ll bring their coat and their gloves,” he said.

Finally, Shipley found a way to add one more smile to his hectic day.

“Compared to watching a ski race, it’s going to be nice.”

– To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 871-4253 or e-mail jreichenberger@steamboatpilot.com