Rodeo of a different color |

Rodeo of a different color

Officials urge residents to use free shuttles for hot air balloon, art events during the weekend

Alexis DeLaCruz

The 27th annual Hot Air Balloon Rodeo takes flight early Saturday morning at Bald Eagle Lake. More than 40 hot air balloons are expected to launch Saturday and Sunday mornings.

— Saturday’s 27th annual Bank of the West Hot Air Balloon Rodeo promises the same excitement of a traditional rodeo – with more color.

“It’s a pretty unique event,” said Matt Windt, special events director for the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association. “To see 42 different, colorful hot air balloons rising out of the (Yampa) Valley at the same time is really cool.”

The Balloon Rodeo is a Chamber signature event that draws locals and visitors together to watch the balloons launch and participate in an air rodeo, which consists of a series of events the hot air balloon pilots must complete while flying.

“We keep them in the air. They don’t just go up and come back down,” Windt said. “It’s fun to watch them play with the wind.”

Saturday’s rodeo is the first time the event is being held at Bald Eagle Lake, south of Steamboat Springs on U.S. Highway 40. In recent years, the rodeo was held at the Meadows parking lot, but had to be moved because of construction at the Wildhorse Meadows development.

As a result of the move, there will be no public parking at Bald Eagle Lake on Saturday. Residents and visitors are being asked to park at the Meadows parking lot along Mount Werner Road and ride shuttles to the lake.

Recommended Stories For You

Shuttles are scheduled to begin running at 6 a.m. and will pick people up every five to 10 minutes, Windt said. The rodeo launch is scheduled for 7 a.m. People also are being allowed to walk or ride their bikes to the event along U.S. 40, he said.

After the rodeo, spectators can jump in their cars and head west to the 33rd annual Art in the Park, an art festival that features a variety of art from local and regional artists.

“It’s a great festival because there is such a variety of artwork on display,” he said. “There’s really something for everyone.”

Free shuttle buses will be available to transport people to Art in the Park from the Stock Bridge Transit Center west of downtown Steamboat Springs.

George Krawzoff, the city’s director of transportation, said he expects this weekend to be as busy as the Fourth of July.

“As always, I encourage everyone to walk, bike or ride to Art in the Park,” he said. “We’re anticipating another peak weekend. It’s right up there with the Fourth.”

– To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail