● By Christina Freeman
Vintage automobiles on display during the Rocky Mountain Mustang Roundup. Photo by Rod Hana
Ride the Waves
The Yampa River Festival is a quintessential Steamboat Springs event: with its down-home, grassroots feel, it’s all about having a good time on the water. The festival started more than 30 years ago and showcases the Yampa River, which flows right through town and offers river fun for beginning to advanced paddlers. Events include freestyle rodeo, a creek race, and slalom course for kayakers; races and obstacle courses for stand-up paddleboarders; and raft races. Don’t miss the crowd favorites: the tube rodeo and the Crazy River Dog competition.
The festival coincides with the Steamboat Marathon, allowing spectators and runners to walk from the marathon finish line to the river events. Friday, May 30 – Sunday, June 1 | www.FriendsoftheYampa.com
Run the Scenic Route
A challenging race known for its views and beauty, the Steamboat Marathon is a favorite for local and visiting runners alike. The epic course starts high in the Elk River Valley at historic Hahn’s Peak Village, then follows the roaring Elk River through rolling ranch land bordered by snow-capped mountains. Starting elevation is 8,128 feet, and the course finishes 1,400 feet lower in downtown Steamboat Springs.
The course is USA Track and Field-certified, making the race a qualifier for the Boston Marathon. Half Marathon and 10km races are also offered, and a free “fun run” for children ages 5 years and older takes place downtown. Featured lodging deals are available online. Sunday, June 1 | www.steamboatmarathon.com
Experience the Power of a Mustang
Get ready for the rev of engines and shiny chrome as more than 450 Ford Mustangs make their way to Steamboat for the Rocky Mountain Mustang Roundup on Father’s Day weekend. Lincoln Avenue is lined with gleaming cars, hoods open and sunroofs down at the Show n’ Shine on Saturday. Or cheer on the drivers as they race around the Meadows parking lot at the autocross event on Friday. A scenic mountain tour, evening social and awards breakfast round out the event for drivers. Thursday, June 12 - Sunday, June 15 | www.rockymountainmustangroundup.org
See the Real West
On cool summer nights at the base of Emerald Mountain, join in the event that showcases Western heritage and has been part of local culture for more than 100 years: the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo.
Steamboat has always been home to skilled cowboys and cowgirls, making rodeo a part of many community events. In the early 1900s,spectators formed a rodeo ring by positioning horses in a circle, heads turned in; later, they used cars. Now, the action takes place in the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena at Howelsen Hill.
Start the night with an old-fashioned Western barbecue dinner, choosing from brats to ribs, and beer to wine. Then find a seat and hold on to your hat as professional rodeo riders wrestle steers, ride bulls and race around barrels. Team roping, saddle bronc riding, a clown act and bareback riding are also featured. Little cowboys and cowgirls get their chance in the spotlight at the calf and ram scrambles, in which children try to grab a ribbon off a calf or ram.
Steamboat’s rodeo is sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and takes place Friday and Saturday evenings, through the summer and special performances July 4 and 5.
Tickets are $20 for adults ($18 pre-sale), $10 for children 7 to 15 ($9 pre-sale), and free for children 6 and under. www.steamboatprorodeo.com | 970-879-1818