● By Christina Freeman
Jason Reyes and his niece enjoy the show at the National Cattle Dog Championships in June. Photo by Deb Olsen.
Absorb valley views from Howelsen Hill on a short ride starting at the base with Sombrero Stables. Longer rides including full-day options are offered at Del's Triangle 3 Ranch and Elk River Guest Ranch, where riders cover terrain set against stunning North Routt backdrops.
Take the art of horsemanship to a new level with stay-and-ride opportunities at Vista Verde Guest Ranch, The Home Ranch and Elk River Guest Ranch. Each location blends luxury and exceptional dining with summer activities, including cattle drives and roping classes, hiking, fishing, and even yoga – on horseback, of course.
Sample life on a working ranch with a four-hour cattle drive at Saddleback Ranch. Take a trail ride or hop on an ATV for a guided tour of the 8,000-acre ranch to learn about the valley's ranching heritage. Finish the day with a wagon dinner ride. www.saddlebackranch.net/ 970-879-3711
Sit back, and absorb true western traditions watching pro cowboys and gals in action Friday and Saturday nights at the Brent Romick Arena in Steamboat Springs. What evolved out of daily ranch work is now a half –century-old professional event. Witness adrenaline-fueled bull riding, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, team roping and barrel racing. Aspiring ranch hands can try their luck in the kids’ calf and ram scrambles.
Friday and Saturday nights, barbecue and pre -show entertainment begins at 6 p.m. Rodeo starts at 7:30 p.m. except the Fourth of July, when it starts at 6.30 p.m. www.steamboatprorodeo.com / 970-870-1818
Horse and Soul
Visit the Tread of Pioneers Museum HORSE exhibit, which uncovers the enduring bond between Routt County residents and their horses. Downtown on Eighth and Oak streets. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.- 5 p.m./ www.treadofpioneers.org / 970-879-2214
National Cattledog Association Finals
Horses, cattle, dogs and cowboys come together for a Western spectacular at Flying Diamond Ranch. Watch in awe as cattle dogs herd 800-pound animals around a course of obstacles under the guidance of their skilled handlers. Tickets required. Wednesday-Sunday, June 10-14, www.nationalcattledog.com
Discover the heart of Routt County's agricultural heritage at the 101st Routt County Fair. Weeklong contests are open to riders, with 4-H competitors showcasing animals from pigs and chickens to dogs and rabbits. In the exhibition hall, local producers and gardeners showcase their wares alongside a multi-generational art show. Wild and wacky entertainment includes ranch chores with a twist at the Routt Ranch Rumpus, horseshoe pitching contests, The Chute Out, Demolition Derby, lawn mower races and a barn dance. Thursday- Sunday, Aug.13-16
Downtown Chili Challenge
Stroll along Seventh and Yampa streets, sampling and voting on favorite chiles and all the fixings. Local cooks compete for coveted awards in categories including best red and green chili, cornbread and salsas. Live music, beer and kids’ activities make for a fun day out downtown. Sunday, Sept. 6.