Rodeo riders hold on to their hats — and ski poles — at the Cowboy Downhill

Wyatt Denny, a bareback rider from Nevada, flies off the jump at the 45th annual Bud Light Cowboy Downhill on at Steamboat Resort. This year's event is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 16, 2023.
John F. Russell/Courtesy Photo

Instead of climbing onto the back of a bucking bull or bronc, cowboys will take a different kind of ride at the 48th annual Bud Light Cowboy Downhill on Monday, Jan. 16 — and hopefully they will last more than eight seconds.

The Bud Light Cowboy Downhill event is now a Steamboat tradition. It features professional athletes, but these athletes are from the rodeo circuit, not the ski hill. So how did cowboys and cowgirls venture from the arena to Steamboat Springs Ski Resort?

According to the Resort’s website, it began 48 years ago when Billy Kidd, Steamboat’s director of skiing, and Larry Mahan, a six-time all-around World Champion cowboy, decided to invite a few of the Pro Rodeo stars to Steamboat for a day of skiing.

“The cowboys had such a great time that the downhill has become the most popular event of the season with over 100 of the best professional rodeo cowboys competing the most unique ski rodeo in the country,” the Resort wrote.

The event is held in conjunction with the National Western Stock Show, which is taking place in Denver this year from Jan. 7-22. Hundreds of professional riders make the trip from Denver to compete on the snow, leaving their chaps on but ditching their cowboy boots.

The race kicks off at 1 p.m. — participants will race down a dual slalom course, hit a jump, lasso a person, saddle a horse, then cross the finish line. The dual slalom is followed by the Stampede Event, which is a mass start; the first rider to the bottom wins.

A free concert featuring Woodie Procell and the Snowy River Band will be hosted at in Steamboat Square immediately after the stampede. The concert is tentatively scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m.

To see a full schedule of events, visit

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