The Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series is the most successful weekly rodeo in the country. While the roots of rodeo in this modest little Northwestern Colorado ranch town/world class ski resort trace back over 100 years, the humble beginnings of the weekly rodeo were known in the mid 1970s as the “Friday Night Jackpot.” Contestants gathered once a week to compete for their accumulated entry fees.
By 1982, the Jackpot Rodeo was in danger of disappearing due to money problems. Local condominium manager Steve Dawes felt like the rodeo was too important to let die, so he stepped forward with his checkbook and his staff to add a little business expertise to the operation. Within a couple of years, the Jackpot Rodeo grew to include Saturday night as well as Friday, and the Steamboat Springs Rodeo Series name was coined.
In 1988, the first and last weekends of the 10-week series were sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and were known as Ski Town Stampede I & II. With the success of its first two forays into pro rodeo, the committee decided it was time to go “all pro.” In 1989, the name was changed to Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series and has been fully sanctioned by the PRCA ever since.
Years and years of effort and improvement were recognized by the rodeo industry in 2002. By a vote of contestants, stock contractors, contract personnel and other rodeo committees, the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series was selected from approximately 500 PRCA rodeos that are neither indoor rodeos nor large (based on their added money) outdoor rodeos as 2002 Small Outdoor Rodeo of the Year. The Board of Directors recognizes that this ultimate honor in rodeo was not for a particular weekend, or even a particular year, but truly amounts to a Lifetime Achievement Award.