If you have not “ponied” up for a Cow Town Ranch Tour yet, you do not know what you are missing!  As a relatively new local, I have been trying to catch one of these for 2 years and it was even better than I expected.

Tours rotate through a variety of area sheep, cattle, hay, and bison ranches. Our tour visited two cattle ranches with quite different backgrounds, but quintessentially the same heart:  loving the land, riding out on horseback to move the cattle, putting up hay and working hard all summer to repair miles of fences damaged by elk and snow.  Intriguing discussion pursued on the economics of ranching - you have to love it to live it - and we learned about the use of conservation easements to preserve the land for agricultural use. After all, it is in large part due to the ranching community and conservation efforts that Steamboat Springs is such a beautiful place to live!

Our resident historians and tour guides, Marsha Daughenbaugh and Jo Stanko, kept us entertained with many stories and facts. We reviewed the Range Wars, previous local crops of strawberries, lettuce and spinach; a bit of mining history; the Old Beef Trail and the area development of the Quarter Horse and Angus Beef.

Tour members came from Iowa, Florida and Australia, just to name a few places. Many good questions addressed the specific challenges to ranching in this environment. The kids, of course, were drawn to the animals. They enjoyed feeding snacks to the horses and throwing sticks and balls to the friendly ranch dogs.

A root beer float provided the perfect finish to a wonderful day.  Come tourists and locals too - Pony up at the Cow Town Ranch Tours!

2010 Cow Town Ranch Tour Dates

Friday, July 2nd -Cattle, Hay and Domestic Elk Ranches Thursday, July 8th-Cattle,Hay and Multi-Animal Ranches Thursday, July 15th-Cattle and Hay Ranches Thursday, July 22nd-Sheep and Domestic Bison Ranches

The last Cow Town Ranch Tour is TOMORROW Thursday, July 22nd. Advance Registration is required. Please contact the CSU Routt County Extension at 970-879-0825 to reserve your spot!

Guest Blogger, Denise Clark