Skip to Content

The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

Steamboat tribute: UW to honor state icon during 100th homecoming

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Fall is in the air, and homecoming is finally here. University of Wyoming (UW) homecoming week, Sept. 25-30, hosts a fun-filled lineup of events including a parade, a football game and a president’s dinner. 

However, the university recently decided to add something for the community, and the Tribute to Steamboat was born. UW will celebrate the second annual Tribute to Steamboat this year, a new addition to the University of Wyoming (UW) homecoming week events. 

The Tribute to Steamboat is set for Sept. 28, and the event will begin at 5 p.m. with a barbecue at the Cliff and Martha Hansen Livestock Teaching Arena and the Tribute to Steamboat Showdeo to follow at 6 p.m. 

The “showdeo” will include some traditional rodeo events, as well as a wheelbarrow race and scramble and a swing dance hosted by UW’s Cowboy Country Swing Club.

Becoming an icon

The cowboy and bucking horse have been the symbol of UW since the early 1900s, and in 1903, the famous photo of the bucking horse Steamboat, ridden by Cowboy Guy Holt, was taken at the Albany Country Fair by UW Professor B.C. Buffum. 

This iconic photograph debuted in 1921 when the silhouette was used on the UW baseball team uniforms, and from that day, the image has been used on all UW athletics gear. It is  now a symbol of the university, all thanks to Deane Hunton, manager of UW Athletics, who decided to use the photo on the uniforms.

According to the WyoHistory webpage, Steamboat was the star of rodeos and Wild West shows for 15 years. A legendary bucker, he was jet black with three white feet, and he received his name because when he was a colt he sustained a broken nose, which caused him to make a whistling sound when he bucked.  

Steamboat has been ridden only a handful of times throughout his tenure as Wyoming’s worst bucker. His trademark move was to plant his front feet straight into the ground while throwing his back legs into the air.  

Celebrating Steamboat

UW homecomings always host a multitude of events, but last year, the Tribute to Steamboat made its first appearance – an event to attract different people throughout the community. 

According to the Branding Iron, “Last year, coordinators of the event found inspiration by wanting to bring a non-traditional homecoming event for a different audience than what is normally seen, and it was a successful turnout.”

Last year, the Tribute to Steamboat Showdeo included student events such as steer riding, calf dressing and a rodeo relay.

Steamboat defines and embodies the untamable spirit of Wyoming and UW Cowboy’s toughness, pride and independence. 

Melissa Anderson is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

Back to top