John Russell: Not your typical rodeo |

John Russell: Not your typical rodeo

It’s not your typical rodeo.

There’s no bull riding, no bareback and it may not be as polished as the weekly Professional Cowboys Rodeo Association events many rodeo fans in Steamboat Springs have come to expect.

But if you’ve never been to Steamboat’s annual Mountain Valley Bank Ranch Rodeo you’re missing a good time. The event will take place at 5 p.m. today at the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena in downtown.

It’s a chance to see everyday people and more than a few real-life ranchers roping, riding and displaying the western lifestyle Routt County is famous for.

Many of the athletes you will see in the arena grew up on ranches. Some of them still work on ranches, and all of them are cowboys – especially today.

The events reflect what really happens on a ranch. Not too many ranchers spend their days riding their bulls, but these cowboys and cowgirls all know how to rope, brand and handle livestock – skills necessary to make a living on a working ranch.

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During the rodeo, these cowboys will work in teams and do the things you might actually see if you visited a ranch in Routt County.

Only, in this event, organizers have added a clock to increase the pressure.

The teams that do it fast and do it right will impress the fans with their roping and riding skills. Some of the others will leave you wanting to laugh.

This is not your typical rodeo, and I guess that’s one of the reasons it’s an event I think everyone should take the time to go see.

The ranch rodeo reflects the real west, and it is an easy way for everybody to get a peek into this way of life before it disappears. Cowboys will brand, rope and pen livestock in a race against the clock. But don’t forget that this event has winners and losers.

The cool thing about the ranch rodeo is it reflects a heritage built on hard work and determination, a place built on pride and teamwork and a part of America that makes most of us proud.

Chances are this week’s ranch rodeo will be the closest most of us will ever get to a real working ranch. But don’t worry. These cowboys use paint, not a hot branding iron, in the arena.

The truth is this rodeo doesn’t have all the high-speed wrecks that you might expect to see in the bull riding and other bucking events in the Steamboat Springs Professional Rodeo series. But it’s also proves a rodeo can be entertaining without those things.

I guess we are lucky to live in a mountain town like Steamboat Springs that offers a quality professional rodeo and a top-notch ranch rodeo every year.

The ranch rodeo isn’t your typical rodeo, but then I guess Steamboat Springs isn’t your typical small town.

– To reach John F. Russell, call 871-4209 or e-mail