Rodeo Fun in Steamboat Springs

Want a taste of the Old West? There is nothing better than a good old-fashioned RODEO!  Our little cowboys had a fantastic time at the Steamboat Pro-Rodeo.  (Mom and Dad had a blast too!)

The rodeo in Steamboat Springs is the most successful weekly rodeo in the country and can trace it’s roots back over 100 years!  You can see hints of the Wild West and cowboys even when you’re walking in! (Check out those belt buckles!)

Big belt buckles

What I really loved was the intimate setting.  The bulls and broncos are right under the stands.  My kids were fascinated with their size!  I was concerned that they didn’t get too close or make them mad.

bulls under bleachers

We were able to get close enough to see the brands on the broncos!

branded horse butt

There are several fun activities before the rodeo begins, so make sure you get there early. Your kids will love playing on the playground and all the parents can enjoy the savory barbeque and great music! That night a there was a musician who sang great covers.

rodeo playground

When you come early you can watch the event come together.

Kids watching the Rodeo

The competitors came in with their saddles,

cowboys carrying saddles

and everyone can see the arena up close!

Rodeo arena

The cowboys hang out under the stands while waiting to compete.

pre ride cowboy area

We were early enough that we sat in the first row overlooking the chutes!


Our kids loved seeing the activity up close.

watching the cowboys

After a cowboy version of the national anthem,

opening anthem

the first event is bull riding.

bull rider

Team roping is next. A conversation with a young cowboy taught me the practical reason for this skill.  When the calves are young they may be reluctant to be looked at by the veterinarian and may need to be captured.  It’s something cowboys have been practicing out West since Colorado’s first ranchers.  One rope is for the horns and another is for the foot.  Look at the skill!

calf roping

Bare back bronco riding is next.  It happens so fast!

wild ride

kick the dust up

Steer wrestling was crazy to watch!  The cowboy rides beside the animal and then jumps off the horse.  The goal was to wrestle the cow to the ground by grabbing it’s horns.  I know the meaning of the phrase “grab life by the horns” now!

cow tackle

I think this guy’s boots were full of dirt by the end!

grab life by the horns

The kids have this hilarious event called the ‘calf scramble.’

kid rodeo

Think of it like flag football – except the flag is on the tail of a calf and the arena is full of kids trying to grab the flag to be declared the winner!

Kids in Rodeo ring

Saddle bronc riding looks pretty crazy too.

bronco bucking

I’m not sure which would be more painful – with or without the saddle!

bucking bronco cowboy

We also learned that they are not called rodeo “clowns” but instead barrel men and they play an important role keeping the competitors safe in the arena.

rodeo clown

Tie-down roping involves a cowboy lassoing a calf, jumping off his horse with one end tied to the saddle horn and the other used to tie it’s feet.  This entire practice is useful for ranchers when they need to capture calves for branding or vet exams. Look at how fast they use the rope!

rodeo calf

The moon rising over the ski runs is quite beautiful, too!

moon rising over steamboat ski runs

Stetsons seem to be a requirement at the rodeo.  Head downtown to F.M. Light & Sons to get your own!

stetsons requiredMake sure you head out to the Steamboat Pro Rodeo – your little cowboys will love it!

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