Cowboy Downhill brings spills, thrills to Steamboat Ski Area slopes
January 15, 2018
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Cowboy Kris Newman retired from rodeo a few years ago, but after beating more than 100 cowboys and cowgirls to the bottom of the hill during the stampede at the 44th annual Bud Light Cowboy Downhill, maybe he should be considering a comeback — as a ski racer.
"I won it last year, and I just know that you have to go fast," Newman said. "It's just terrible. Ski poles are going between people's legs, it's just an all-for-yourself type of deal, and you don't want to wreck. That's the most important thing — not wreck, and you can never quit."
The stampede capped off this year's Cowboy Downhill, which drew a large crowd of people to the base of Steamboat Ski Area on Monday to watch current and former PRCA cowboys and cowgirls race through the gates, over a prostyle jump and have a yee-haw of a good time.
In the final event, Newman got off the finish line faster than a 2,000-pound bull can jump out of the chute at the Brent Romick Rodeo arena, and he never looked back. A fellow cowboy fell in the middle of the course taking down a large number of competitors and giving the Wyoming cowboy, who was positioned on the edge, the break he was looking for.
By the time he raced across the finish line at the bottom of the Stampede ski run, the carnage behind him stretched from one side of the slope to the other, but he didn't seem to care.
"It took me two or three years to learn the event," Newman said. "The people who have been here, they know that you need to get up there, find a good starting position and then really go.”
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Steer wrestler Colin Wolfe, of Wenatchee, Washington, won the dual slalom event with a time of 25.86 seconds. Nevada bareback rider Wyatt Denny was second at 27.01, and Yvan Jane, a bareback rider from Glenrose, Texas, was third with a time of 28.94.
Jamie Howlett, a cowboy from Snyder, Texas, earned the honor of top crash for his five downhill somersaults that resulted in a yard sale. He still had enough left in the tank after the crash to finish the race on one ski.
But the marquee event of the day was the stampede, and after years of climbing onto the back of a bull, Newman said the event just brings out the best in him.
"It is a pride thing,” Newman said. "I still enjoy skiing, and I still enjoy competing. It's just a lot of fun, and it's a total adrenaline rush."