Youngest take centerstage at Steamboat rodeo ram scramble
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — There’s a special division of young elite that attend the rodeo.
They’re climbing the fence, longing for their chance in the arena.
Some wear cowboy boots, jeans and button downs, while some where basketball shorts and T-shirts. You’ll even see some in flowery dresses as they gallop under the stadium light.
These are the ram scrambler elite.
The ram scramble is for children 5 and younger, and most of the time, they’re escorted by a parent or older sibling to help. It happens between the Steamboat Spring Pro Rodeo Series events after the steer wrestling and before saddle bronc riding. It welcomes any child who wants to participate.
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Brycen Ray Grimes, 2, can’t stay away from the fence as he looks on to the team roping event. His father, Adam, kneels behind him, pulling him away as the steers edge close to the fence line.
Adam is a Steamboat native and owner of Ore House at the Pine Grove, a western restaurant in town. He’s grown up around livestock and even competed in bull riding.
“Then I tore up my shoulder.” Adam said.
Now he sits with his wife in the stands, matching cowboy hats with his son. His only trip inside the arena now is with Brycen, when the ram scramble begins.
The rodeo clown tells the kids to roll around in the dirt, and there’s a simultaneous, “Oh no,” from the parents and squeals of excitement from the young’ins.
A baby ram emerges from the gate, clumsily tantalizing the crowd of children, running in circles around them.
But nonetheless, the ram’s pink ribbon is snatched by 5 year-old Baylor Eickman from Elkhorn, Nebraska.
“We just got here today and we’ve never been to the rodeo,” his mom, Laura Eickman said. “It took a little convincing to get him out there.”
The rodeo novice holds his prized belt buckle in his right hand and certificate in this left. He shrugs when asked how he managed to catch the ram.
“He took an angle,” his brother said, jumping with excitement.
Baylor’s so nervously excited to talk about his win, he stumbles over what his age is. Then, he cracks a wide grin.
“Do you think you’ll go to the rodeo again?” a reporter asks.
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