Stiff competition at rodeo |

Stiff competition at rodeo

Annual Fourth of July event placed ranch life in the spotlight

— Bill Montag’s team didn’t win the Fourth of July Ranch Rodeo, but he wasn’t going to let that ruin his holiday.

“The whole day was incredible,” Montag said. “It was one of the biggest crowds we’ve ever had for a Ranch Rodeo.”

Meeker’s LK Ranch stole the show Sunday on the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena floor, completing all four tasks — which included branding a calf, tying down a steer, penning a steer and milking a cow — in 2 minutes, 58.37 seconds.

The LK Ranch team of Buddy and Lance Pakuer and Lowell and Lennie Kilinglesmith edged hometown favorites the Saddleback Ranch team. Saddleback Ranch finished second with a time of 3:04.75. The Vaquero Valley team from Loma finished third with a time of 3:08.40.

Montag’s team finished well out of the running with a time of 5:21.06, but he said his squad improved from last year’s effort.

“The level of competition at the Steamboat Springs Ranch Rodeo continues to get stronger,” Montag said. “This year, 18 of the 20 teams that took part in the event received a time.”

That feat came despite the fact that organizers cut the maximum time allowed from 10 minutes to six. Last year, only a handful of the teams completed their runs before time expired.

“Everybody is getting better,” Montag said. “There are more ranch rodeos, and there are more teams taking part in them.”

There are six ranch rodeos across Northwest Colorado this summer. The next event, the PTO Ranch Rodeo, is later this month at the Shiner Ranch in South Routt County.

Although teams are competing to win a title, Montag said the goal of the Steamboat Springs Ranch Rodeo is to entertain the Fourth of July holiday crowds while exposing them to the ranching lifestyle he is proud of. Although the cowboys in the event used paint instead of a hot branding iron, the events have been pulled directly from ranch living to test the participants’ ability to handle livestock.

In the past four years, the Fourth of July Ranch Rodeo in Steamboat Springs has exposed thousands of visitors to life on the ranches, a lifestyle that is a large part of the valley’s heritage.

“This event is already a tradition in Steamboat Springs,” Montag said. “I think it’s only going to get stronger.”

This year’s rodeo drew several teams from Steamboat, including the Saddleback Ranch, Double $$ Cattle Company, Cowboys, River Ranches, Mountain Valley Bank, Into the West and Steamboat Veterinary Hospital teams. Other Routt County teams included Bar A Ranch, Greenridge and Pawnee Grasslands. There also were teams from Kremmling, Meeker, Walden, Loma and Colorado Springs.

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