Cowboy Up and Balloon Glow Events Kick Off Festival on Sunday, Jan. 17

GoPro Bomb Squad Jumps Into Downhill Venue Prior to Event on Monday, Jan. 18

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO-January 14, 2016-If there’s one thing Steamboat is known for besides the Champagne Powder® snow, it’s the western roots that run deep in this ranching community. But on one particular day for the past 42 years, the western heritage of Steamboat collides with skiing and snowboarding in the wild Bud Light Cowboy Downhill.

“The Bud Light Cowboy Downhill has become one of the highlights of the rodeo season, and it is one of the most unique ski events in the country attracting cowboys from across the United States as well as Australia, Canada, Europe and Mexico,” said Katie Brown, vice president of sales & marketing. “The combination of Steamboat’s genuine, western heritage and world-class skiing has made our town and resort the ideal setting for this event for over four decades.”

Back again this season, Cowboy Downhill showcases a special Balloon Glow and Cowboy Up party on Sunday, January 17. Shortly after sunset (about 5pm), several hot air balloons will illuminate the night across the base area. Balloon pilots will inflate and ignite their burners in a mesmerizing dance of light and sound not to be missed. Then at 5:30pm, kick up your heels and dance the night away at the Bear River Bar & Grill Cowboy Up party with Banks & Shane.

Monday’s signature events burst out of the chutes on the Stampede trail with the GoPro Bomb Squad making a return appearance landing in the venue just before the dual slalom race kicks off at 1pm. After negotiating the slalom gates and on-course jump, the cowboys must lasso a person, saddle a horse and cross the finish line in the fastest time and all in one piece. The grand finale of the Bud Light Cowboy Downhill is a chaotic western stampede on skis and snowboards. The Stampede utilizes a mass start and pits cowboy against cowboy in a winner-takes-all race. The greatest challenge for the winner is getting out of the way of a hundred other cowboys hurtling down the hill in hot pursuit.

The fun-loving, hard-driving, duo of contemporary country-Walker McGuire-takes the Steamboat Stage immediately following the Stampede. Jordan Walker and Johnny McGuire, who hail from Vernon, Texas and Fairway, Kansas, formed Walker McGuire in May 2012 and are making their mark as true singer songwriters.

The evening rides off into the sunset with the Cowboy Downhill Awards Banquet atop the Steamboat gondola at 7pm. The event includes a Western BBQ, music from local entertainment legends Banks & Shane, and plenty of good, old-fashioned storytelling. Banquet tickets are $65 with limited availability and must be purchased in advance through Steamboat Central Reservations® or online at www.steamboat.com/cowboydownhill.

The Cowboy Downhill started more than four decades ago when Larry Mahan, six-time All-Around World Champion cowboy, and Billy Kidd, Steamboat’s Director of Skiing & Olympic medalist, decided it would be fun to invite a few of the ProRodeo stars from the National Western Stock Show in Denver up to Steamboat for a day of skiing and racing fun. “Larry called me up and said, ‘I want to learn to ski, and I heard you’re the guy to teach me,’” Kidd said. “The next year, he brought up a couple friends, and when you get two or three rodeo cowboys together, you’ve got a contest. That was the beginning of the Cowboy Downhill, and we haven’t looked back since.”

All Bud Light Cowboy Downhill participants must be entered in the National Western Stock Show & Rodeo in Denver scheduled for January 2016, be a member of the ProRodeo Cowboys Association or Professional Bull Riders, and wear chaps and cowboy hats to compete in the event. For Bud Light Cowboy Downhill event information and schedule, go to www.steamboat.com/cowboydownhill.

-Happy Trails®