Buckaroo the kangaroo an unexpected guest at Steamboat MusicFest | SteamboatToday.com

Buckaroo the kangaroo an unexpected guest at Steamboat MusicFest

Brittany Walker gets a hug from her kangaroo, Buckaroo, at Red Rover Resort near Milner. The family brought the pet to Steamboat for MusicFest, but after learning the hotel where they were staying would not let them keep the exotic pet, they had to make other arrangements. (Photo by John F. Russell)

MILNER — Drawing from every corner of Texas, MusicFest attracts all kinds — skiers, snowboarders, country music fans, and this year, a kangaroo.

Buckaroo, a 1-year-old red kangaroo, spent a few days at Red Rover Resort in Milner, after his owner Brittany Walker had a disagreement with their pre-arranged lodging over the meaning of "pet friendly.”

"I usually say ‘yes’ to almost anything," said Carol Bloodworth, owner of Red Rover Resort.

And after several days caring for Buckaroo, also called Roo, Bloodworth said it's just about the most fun boarder she's ever hosted.

"I was afraid they were going to say it was a lion or tiger or boa constrictor," Bloodworth said, after getting Walker's call.

Bloodworth has had falcons, ferrets and potbellied pigs but never a marsupial.

The hardest part is changing Roo's diaper, she said, a task that requires two people. Other than that, Roo is sweet, friendly and very well-behaved, she said.

"He thinks he's a dog," Bloodworth added.

The young kangaroo stayed in a kennel with his two canine travel mates, Shady, a lab/pointer mix, and Chica, a chihuahua mix.

Buckaroo the kangaroo plays with Shady the dog at Red Rover Resort near Milner. The local pet care business took the exotic pet in after its owners were not able to keep it at a local hotel. (Photo by John F. Russell)

At home, on the Shady Lady Cattle Company ranch in Gonzales, Texas, Roo also enjoys morning runs with the bulls. And he’s protective of his yard and his dog siblings, Walker said. They’ve had other unique pets, including a wild boar named Hamlet and a jackrabbit named Felina.

The kangaroo, also a native Texan, was a surprise gift for Walker. Her boyfriend told her they were going to look at a new bucking bull.

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Roo was like an infant, she said, weighing just a few pounds, sleeping a lot and requiring bottle feeding and diaper changes every few hours. Eventually, Roo will grow to be about 6-feet tall, with nearly half of that tail.

As a baby, his favorite spot was in a pouch Walker could carry like a satchel. Roo still has a bag she uses to carry him around, just in a bigger size.

Accustomed to traveling to rodeos, Roo and the dogs did well on the long drive, Walker said. At one point when Roo was getting a little antsy, he perched on the pickup's center console for a better view out the front windshield.

On the way home, they will stop for a few days along the way and will stay at a La Quinta, where Walker knows "pet friendly" covers small kangaroos.

Laws on owning kangaroos vary state by state, with some requiring licenses. Red kangaroos are on Colorado's list of unregulated wildlife and allowed as pets. They are also legal in Texas, of course, and growing in popularity as a pet. Their primary requirement is plenty of grassy space to hop and graze, but as with any exotic animal, potential pet owners should do serious research on owning the animal first.

When Walker came to pick up her brood Wednesday at Red Rover Resort, Bloodworth was particularly sad to say goodbye to the kangaroo.

Once reunited, the two dogs jumped all over Walker. Roo shyly stayed in the corner, until being lifted into Walker's arms for cuddles and kisses.

Then it was time for a trip out to the backyard for a little hopping around in the snow, which Roo didn’t seem to mind at all.

To reach Kari Dequine Harden, call 970-871-4205, email kharden@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @KariHarden.

Brittany Walker holds her kangaroo, Buckaroo, at the Red Rover Resort near Milner. (Photo by John F. Russell)

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