While best known for its world-class skiing, Steamboat Springs also boasts a rich and vibrant ranching heritage. While no one knows for sure when the first organized rodeo was held in Steamboat Springs, mentions of competitive rodeo events date back to the late 1800’s.

The Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series takes place every Friday and Saturday night beginning in mid-June through mid-August. If you are looking to experience a piece of Steamboat’s ranching heritage, this is definitely the place you want to be.

For as long as I can remember, I have always made it a point to attend at least one rodeo each summer. With the end of summer quickly approaching, I gathered up a group of my friends for a fun night under the lights. The show starts at 7:30 PM, but we arrived early to enjoy the live music and delicious BBQ dinner. After dinner, we settled into the bleachers and watched as the opening ceremonies began.

8 Second Ride

The first event of the evening was permit bull riding. This is always one of the fan favorites, and you see just as many people rooting for the bull as the cowboy. In this event, the rider attempts to stay atop the bucking bull for 8 seconds, while holding onto nothing more that a flat braided rope with one hand.

Each bull has a unique bucking style, which adds to the excitement. Some spin, others circle and some like to jump straight into the air and kick wildly. While all of this is going on, the rider uses their free hand to maintain balance. The ultimate score depends on the cowboys control, but also on the bulls bucking performance. Permit bull riders are all rookies, and unfortunately on this night, none of them made it through the 8 seconds.

After the permit bull riding was complete, they moved on to the bareback riding, team roping and steer wrestling events. In between each event, the rodeo clown entertained the crowd with funny skits, musical dance numbers and silly jokes.

Ram and Calf Scramble

By far my favorite events of the night were the ram and calf scrambles. Arguably the cutest events at the rodeo, children in attendance are called down to the arena to participate. Once all of the kids are lined up and ready to go, a small ram or calf with ribbon attached is release, then the kid stampede ensues. Children run back and forth around the arena attempting to capture the ribbon. Tonight, it only took about a minute of scrambling before the ribbon had been claimed and a winner crowned.

After all of the children left the arena, the timed events continued. We watched cowgirls fly around the arena during the barrel racing competition, and competitors bolt from the gates during the regional team roping event. The night concluded with another heart-pumping round of bull riding.

Nothing beats a night at the rodeo. The food, the festivities and the amazing competition, make it a must-do activity when visiting Steamboat Springs.

Emily Hines is the marketing and special events coordinator for the City of Steamboat Springs. Emily was born and raised in the Yampa Valley and attended the University of Oregon, where she received a Bachelor of Science in business administration with concentrations in marketing and sports business. In 2013, after seven years working on the East Coast for a lifestyle and sports marketing agency, she found her way back home to Steamboat. She loves the outdoors and enjoys sharing her adventures and all that Steamboat has to offer.

Read more from Emily here.

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