Community Ag Allance: Why rodeo matters in Steamboat Springs
Have you witnessed guests to our town dressed in their full western regalia of boots, belt and hat, wandering downtown looking for the once legendary cow town of Steamboat Springs?
Drawn by Steamboat’s legendary western heritage, many first arrive here with anticipation of exercising their inner cowboy or cowgirl. With the exception of a few remaining outposts like FM Lights & Sons, Tread of Pioneers Museum and the summertime rodeo series, the shift from Old West to New West is evident everywhere you look.
Today, branding campaigns less often focus on the valley’s cattle, horse and rider and instead highlight Bike Town USA, Dog Town USA or the latest marketing spin. Steamboat’s original brand of small, western, friendly, ski town is often casually overlooked. Were it not for one person’s campaign to Save Our Spurs, Steamboat’s traditional wintertime silver spur decoration would have idly been replaced with snowflakes. Snowflakes! Any mountain town can have snowflakes, and many towns can be Bike Town USA, but few have our town’s heritage. Visitors come to Steamboat looking for our original western charm.
Think back: The majority of us came to Steamboat and stayed because of the benefits derived from Steamboat’s western culture. So what does it mean for Steamboat to be western today? How should we capture the heart and soul of this place — not to mention your own place in this place — when it transforms itself every couple of years and tries to become somewhere else?
I hope you agree, our western heritage is important to keeping us and our town grounded. If you would like to witness Steamboat’s western allure, every Friday and Saturday night, hundreds of guests to our town in their western outfits stampede through the rodeo gates relieved to find our small town’s western traditions alive and well. These days, we are all required to wear a gazillion hats, but I hope you find time this summer to dust off your cowboy hat and reflect on what makes Steamboat Springs special.
Happy Cowboy Roundup Days. .
Ren Martyn is a ranch real estate broker with Steamboat Sotheby’s and board member of the Steamboat Springs Professional Rodeo Series.
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