STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Rocky Mountain Mustang Roundup has been a part of summer in Steamboat Springs since 1997, but organizers announced this week that the roar of engines will not take place in the Yampa Valley in 2021.
“I would say that due to the decisions that the city government felt they needed to make in order to better manage events that Steamboat Springs was no longer a good fit for the Rocky Mountain Mustang Roundup,” said Wendell Salas, Rocky Mountain Mustang Roundup planning committee chairman. “As time went on and changes were made it felt like Steamboat Springs had switched from being an active partner with the Rocky Mountain Mustang Roundup in helping to bring our event to the Steamboat Springs area and instead became just a place that could host our event.”
The Rocky Mountain Mustang Roundup started in Frisco in 1989 and was held at several locations including Avon and Breckenridge before landing in Steamboat in 1996. Each year the event included a scenic mountain drive, an autocross event in the Meadows Parking Lot and a car show. Last June, the Mustang Roundup brought between 350 and 400 cars to Steamboat along with an estimated 2,000 people.
“To lose an event that we have had so much history with always brings a lot of emotions, and certainly economic impact,” Steamboat Springs Chamber CEO Kara Stoller said. “We’re amid a lot of change right now, so my hope is that the event finds a place that they feel is a good fit for them, and I also hope that we are able to replace that business with something just as, or not more, economically impactful in the future.”
While the loss of the Mustang Roundup came as a shock to locals, Salas said his organization has been seeking a contingency plan for several years. He said one issue came when the city asked organizers to move the Show ‘n Shine car show to Yampa Street, which resulted in the organization having to limit the number of entries in that event. Other issues included the rising price of services needed to host the event.
“Our main issue with that location was the lack of space,” Salas said. “Having the Farmers Market and us there at the same time, and with needing to keep some of the streets open to traffic due to residences in the area, limited our ability to park cars,” Salas said. “For 2019, we had to turn away over 100 registrants because of the limited space. If we had been able to have our 2020 Rocky Mountain Mustang Roundup, we would have had to limit that number even further.”
Steamboat Springs City Manager Gary Suiter said the city has changed the way it handles events, including how much it charges for services provided to support those events.
“I don’t know much about the Mustangs, but I got a really nice call from a gentleman with the organization inquiring about Steamboat Springs, and he advised me that they were shopping other areas,” Suiter said. “I told him that I had worked in other resorts and that some of them have pretty substantial budgets to offset expenses to attract a group. We just didn’t have those sorts of funds here to subsidize private events and that we were pretty limited.
Suiter said he was disappointed the Mustang Roundup has decided to go somewhere else, but he also understands it is a business decision.
Salas said Colorado Springs will allow the event to grow, and that some events will be held at Pikes Peak International Speedway. The move was greeted with a mixed response from club members, who posted on the Mustang Roundup’s Facebook page. Some were excited about the move, while others were disappointed not to be coming to Steamboat next summer.
“I’m sorry to see them go,” Suiter said. “We will always be here to welcome them back.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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