Bighorn sheep event returns for second, and possibly final, year in Basalt |

Bighorn sheep event returns for second, and possibly final, year in Basalt

Staff report
Bighorn sheep congregate last month along Frying Pan Road east of Basalt. Ken Toy is organizing an event Saturday for people who want to view the animals.
Ken Toy/Courtesy photo |

Basalt-area resident Ken Toy is using guerilla marketing to try to generate interest for the second annual Bighorn Sheep Event.

The event will be held Saturday. Toy started it last year to appeal to people who want to photograph or just view the bighorn sheep that typically graze within view of Frying Pan Road east of Basalt.

Participants are urged to come to the Aspenalt Lodge parking lot at 9 a.m. Saturday. A Snow Limo van will take spectators up the road at 10 a.m. A complimentary lunch will be served at the conclusion of the viewing. Two Rivers Cafe and Cafe Bernard are donating the food. The event is free for the public.

“All you have to do is be patient,” Toy said, noting that the travel patterns of the bighorn sheep are unpredictable. Recent heavy snow in the high country could drive them down to the valley floor.

Toy organized the timing of the event based on his observations of when bighorns tend to appear. The retired photographer spends so much time along a 6-mile stretch of Frying Pan Road observing the animals that he’s become known to some folks as “the sheep guy.”

Toy said he is particularly interested in the durability of the animals to survive winter in the backcountry and the relationship between rams and lambs.

“The ram teaches the lamb how to survive,” he said.

His goal of turning the Bighorn Sheep Event into a bigger festival for Basalt appears to be over. Toy said he had a disagreement with Basalt Town Manager Mike Scanlon over the long-term viability of the event. The town contributed $2,000 last year but withdrew funding this year.

Toy also disagreed with the marketing committee over the direction of the event. He acknowledged this could be the last year for the bighorn gazing.

He has urged numerous professional and amateur photographers he knows to attend the event and is spreading information by word of mouth.

Toy can be reached at 970-319-9199 for more information.

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