“Go after life as if it's something that's got to be roped in a hurry before it gets away.” — Cowboy Wisdom
If you’re in Steamboat over a weekend in the summer, a must do is a visit to the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo. There’s nothing like a stampede of bulls, cowboys, rodeo clowns and barrel racers to get your kids off of the X-box, your spouse off of their smart phone and everyone into the game of life.
Steamboat’s roots are in ranching and we’ve been hosting rodeos for well over 116 years. Long enough to know what we’re doing, and crazy enough to talk these cowboys into doing it year after year! Every Friday and Saturday evening from mid-June to mid-August, these cowboys and cowgirls head out into the cheering arena upholding this time-honored Western tradition. And this isn’t the clapboard resort equivalent of a rodeo - these are PRCA sanctioned competitions (aka theis is the real deal).
As someone who has lived in Steamboat for over 17 years, this ain’t my first rodeo, as they say, so here’s a few tips for you to cowboy up.
Where to get “Duded Up” Head on over to FM Light & Sons before the rodeo to spruce up your Western wardrobe. Buy your tickets there (you can also get tickets at the gate). FM Light’s got hats from straw to Stetson, huge selection of cowboy boots and everything you can and can’t imagine in between. Plus kiddos get a free sheriff’s badge and a chance to ride “Lightning” the pretend horse outside.
Rustle up some Grub Go EARLY and enjoy the BBQ. The BBQ starts at 6pm. Seriously, it’s amazing BBQ. Kick up ‘yer heels to the country music and pre-rodeo dancing and enjoy a cash bar full of cowboy cocktails.
Can the Cow Pokes get in on the Action? Listen closely for the announcements of the Calf Scramble and the Ram Scramble. Kids 6-12 (calf scramble) and kids 5 and under (ram scramble), take over the arena in these separate events and try to grab a ribbon from either the calf or the goat. Winner gets prizes from FM Light and, most importantly, rodeo bragging rights.
Where to Saddle Up Be there by 6:30pm to get seats in the main (covered) seating area. These seats are above the bull pens - so you get a show during the show just watching those bulls wiggle around. Plus, the covering helps in case the sun’s a bit bright or if we get the occasional quick rain shower. But cowboy hats help with those scenarios too. And all seats in the stadium have a view of the arena.
Grab a “John Henry” on your way out … After the rodeo, as you’re exiting the gates, do’t be afraid to ask a bull riding competitor for his autograph, these are rodeo stars and many even have take home photos available that they’ll sign for you. Show ‘em your love. It takes a pretty courageous cowboy to ride those bulls, if we do say so ourselves.