We bought tickets through the Steamboat Springs activity website for the PRCA rodeo in June. The rodeo is located in the immediate vicinity of The Howler Alpine Slide and horseback riding stables, so there is plenty to do for a day of fun activities. But back to the rodeo... I have been to many rodeos but this was the first time I brought my city-raised 8 yr old daughter. When I exchanged my vouchers for tickets at the "will call window," I asked if they were doing a "calf scramble" or other activities that an 8 yr old could participate in. They told me yes, they were doing both the calf scramble as well as a ram scramble, and to just listen to the loudspeaker and the announcer would give details during the performance. Ok, easy enough. The performance was set for 7:30 pm and somewhere along our travels, a parking valet mentioned that they have a really good BBQ on-site at the rodeo grounds prior to the performance. Since we had no dinner plans, we decided to do that also (not included in the rodeo performance ticket price - it is separate). We got there about 6:20 p.m. or so, got the tickets at "will call" and made our way to the food shack next to the arena. There were pork ribs, beef ribs, chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs and corn dogs. You could order just those items or you could make it a "platter" with a soda, potato salad, watermelon, baked beans and a roll. We opted for the pork rib platters and they might have been the best ribs I've ever eaten! Tasted like they had a dry rub AND a wet rub on them. Once you ordered, you took your plate to a guy running a huge grill and he mopped some sauce on them and put them on your plate with the other items. The helping was enormous - I am a big eater and could not finish it all. There was a small band shell with a local country band playing and picnic tables to share a communal dinner with other diners. Once done, we walked over and asked one of the people working at the rodeo which gate the kids would go to for the calf scramble and he was more than happy to point it out and how to get there. Then we picked our seats and made sure my daughter could find her way from the seats to the gate and back again (no parents allowed at the gate). Then the rodeo started -- bull riding, saddle bronc, etc. A kid about 11 or 12 yrs old came by selling "discs" with numbers on the back -- $5 for one or $20 for five. In the middle of the rodeo, the announcer asked that kids 6-12 go to the gate for the calf scramble and everyone else with discs to line up near the arena fence. So my daughter went off to the gate and I took the discs and went to the front of the grandstand. They put tarps out in the middle of the arena (red, blue and white) with a small washtub at the center of the white one. Then the announcer told us to throw our discs and try to hit one of the tarps or get it into the washtub for a prize. Out of the hundreds of discs flying, only 3 made it onto the tarps (not easy!) and one of them was mine! They announced the winners and after the calf scramble (which came right after the disc throw), they told us that we could pick out our prize at the bandshell. There were probably a dozen or so prizes to choose from for each color tarp hit ($25 gift certificates to local eateries, etc.). There was one for a "ride in the Dodge Ram pick-up to set up the barrels" at the end of the evening, so I selected that one for my 8 yr old. She rode into the arena in the back of the pickup truck and got to wave to the audience....very memorable and unique. The people were incredibly friendly and helpful and the whole event is family oriented. There was calf roping and steer roping, which I realize some folks will have an issue with, and they may want to not attend if they feel strongly about this. But for us, it was fine and reflective of the history and culture of this part of the world. When we walked around the stock pens at the end of the night, it was clear that the animals were all well taken care of, fed, watered, had no marks on them, etc. Overall, it was a fun and unique evening.
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