Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and Radium Hot Springs just sort of go together – we’re neighbors. Every year Radium celebrates them with its Headbanger Festival.
The Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep have been as much a part of the Village of Radium Hot Springs as are the Rocky Mountains – for decades and likely much longer than that. The headbangers, as they are fondly called, are a tourist attraction, drawing countless visitors each year to the community.
We look forward to their annual descent every autumn from the higher elevations in Kootenay National Park to their winter campground in the village. We watch them cross the highway and head downtown with the latest crop of youngsters. We may complain about their munching the grass on our lawns and the leaves from the trees and they are hazardous to drivers on the roads, but we can’t help but be fascinated by this yearly return, like clockwork, to our neighborhood.
One of the most amazing events to watch is the annual rut in which the rams compete for the ewes by challenging each other with butting contests. They charge each other at more than 20 km an hour, banging their heads together with a cracking noise that can often be heard a mile away.
The Headbanger Festival is a weekend-long celebration of this annual event. It’s a fun event with hands-on, interactive workshops and unique presentations … and … we get to be up close and personal with the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep at the same time!
For more information about the Headbanger Festival, go to: https://columbiavalley.com/events/headbanger-festival/