Pro Rodeo Series
Under the lights at the Brent Romick Arena, clouds of dirt and cries of victory tell the gripping story of the West with a time-honored and award-winning Steamboat tradition.
Fourth of July event pricing is $25/adults and $15/children 7-15. No pre-sale discount it available. Other information can be found at the link below.
While the roots of rodeo in this modest little Northwest Colorado ranch town and world class ski resort trace back over 100 years, the humble beginnings of the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo are known to go back more than a century.
No one knows for sure when Steamboat Springs hosted its first organized rodeo competition, but mentions of competitive rodeo events in the Steamboat Pilot, date back to at least 1898. Looking through historical files, it seems that no local event was complete without some type of rodeo competition.
Steamboat was full of skilled cowboys and cowgirls, and horses that were bred for work, not temperament, and tended to be large and a bit ornery. The local cowboys thought nothing of riding these hard-to-handle animals, and casual bets often resulted in impromptu rodeo-type competitions in fields or right on Lincoln Avenue.
Back at the turn of the 20th century there was no rodeo arena in Steamboat, but the area where the current rodeo arena stands near the Yampa River was the location for many rodeo events. During the summer of 1907 for Game & Fish Day, spectators formed a rodeo ring by positioning their horses in a circle, heads turned inward. In later days, cars were used to form the circle.
In the mid-1970s, the weekly organized event was known as the “Friday Night Jackpot.By 1982, the Jackpot Rodeo was in danger of disappearing due to funding. Local property manager Steve Dawes felt like the rodeo was too important to lose, so he stepped forward with his checkbook and his staff to add a little business expertise to the operation. Within a few years, the Jackpot Rodeo grew to include Saturday night, and the Steamboat Springs Rodeo Series name was coined.
In 1988, the first and last weekends of the 10-week series were sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and were known as Ski Town Stampede I & II. With the success of its first two forays into pro rodeo, the committee decided it was time to go "all pro." The rodeo has been fully sanctioned by the PRCA since 1989.
2002 - Present
Years and years of effort were recognized by the rodeo industry in 2002. By a vote of contestants, stock contractors, contract personnel and other rodeo committees, the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series was selected from approximately 500 PRCA rodeos as 2002 Small Outdoor Rodeo of the Year. Today, the series lights up Friday and Saturday nights throughout the summer, keeping alive the true Western tradition of Steamboat Springs.
Rodeo Event Descriptions
See descriptions of the most popular rodeo events below and check out the frequently asked rodeo questions to make the most of your rodeo experience.
Cowboys use one hand to grasp a leather “rigging” to stay on the saddle-less bucking horse for a physically demanding eight seconds. They are judged on their spurring technique and the bucking action of the horse. To earn higher scores, riders must turn the toes of their boots outward and lean back. Judges are looking to ensure the cowboys’ feet stay above the horse’s shoulders until the horse’s front feet hit the ground.
Team roping demands close cooperation between two cowboys – known as the header and the heeler – as well as their horses. A steer is given a head start before the header chases it down and secures a loop around the horns, neck or head, and tying their rope onto the horn of their saddle. As the header begins to ride away, the heeler tries to rope the steer’s hind feet. The clock only stops when the two riders back out their horses and take all the slack out of their ropes.
A horse and rider chase down a calf before the cowboy ropes it, with the horse skidding to a stop. The cowboy then dismounts, runs to the calf and ties any three legs together with a “pigging string.” The cowboy gets back on his horse and rides toward the calf, which must remain tied for at least 6 seconds after the rope is slack.
Courage, timing and balance are essential for steer wrestlers, also known as bulldoggers. The steer wrestler chases his target down on horseback until he can make his jump from the horse to the steer, hooking his arm around the steer’s horn to throw it to the ground.
Saddle Bronc Riding
Unlike bareback riding, a cowboy grips a thick rein attached to the horse’s halter. As the horse bucks, the rider bends his knees to pull his heels back and then snaps his feet back to the horse’s shoulder as the animal’s front feet hit the ground, synchronizing spurring with the horse’s movements.
The goal of barrel racing is to run a cloverleaf patter around three barrels with the fastest time. The horses pivot on their haunches at high speeds and execute each turn with only inches to spare.
In what’s hoped to be an eight-second ride, the rider holds a flat braided rope in his glove hand. Each bull has a different style of bucking – some spin, others circle and some throw in jumps, kicks, or drift sideways mid-air. As the cowboy waves his free hand to counter the bull’s gyration and maintain his balance, he has to avoid touching the bull. The cowboy’s control and the bull’s bucking each account for half the score.