Cattle drive on Lincoln Avenue a sight to be seen |

Cattle drive on Lincoln Avenue a sight to be seen

Mike Lawrence

— It was a taste of what downtown Steamboat Springs sounded like, and smelled like, in the early days of its rich, Western history.

For about 30 minutes Sunday morning, more than 130 head of cattle replaced car horns and truck engines with bleats, moos and lows, walking in noisy herds down Lincoln Avenue in the annual Saddleback Ranch Cattle Drive. Guided by mounted cowboys, cowgirls and law enforcement, the herds moved east along Lincoln for several blocks before turning south on Fifth Street, ending at the rodeo arena and cattle pens at Howelsen Park.

Crowds of locals and visitors alike filled both sides of Lincoln to see something that, these days, is a once-a-year event.

“I hadn’t seen anything like that before,” said Chris Babiarz, 10, of Wisconsin.

“It was definitely something different,” echoed his 17-year-old relative, Leah Babiarz of Michigan.

Three-year-old Brody Holt of Denver was awed beyond words, and simply waved his hands and pointed excitedly to make sure his parents saw the cattle.

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Cattle driver Ren Martyn said moving herds through downtown isn’t always easy.

“It’s a bit challenging,” Martyn said. “With all the people, the horses can get nervous : but with the Iacovettos, this was a piece of cake.”

Several members of the Iacovetto family provided their experienced ranching hands to help with the cattle drive.

After the colorful event, which kicked off Fourth of July festivities in Steamboat, Saddleback Ranch owner Wayne Iacovetto remembered a time when cattle on Lincoln Avenue was not reserved for a holiday.

“We used to drive cattle through town all the time,” said Iacovetto, a Routt County native who bought his first ranch in 1972. “We’d drive ’em through early in the morning and go to the stockyards : It’s just nice to keep the Western heritage in Steamboat.”

Iacovetto said his favorite part of the annual event is the reaction from bystanders.

“Just to see the people enjoy it, is what I like,” Iacovetto said. “We like to see the kids enjoy what we live.”

To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203 or e-mail

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