Niki Turner
Contributing Writer
Rifle, CO Colorado

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July 25, 2012
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County Fair: Ride 'em or drive 'em at county fair

"Ride 'em" or "drive 'em" might be the rallying cry for the Garfield County Fair's main events, which include a CPRA rodeo, freestyle motocross, dancing stallions and the ever-popular demolition derby.

From professional rodeo riders pitted against feisty bulls and horses, to freestyle motocross riders performing stunts such as the kiss of death backflip, to watching your friends and neighbors battle it out behind the wheel at the demolition derby, even being a spectator at the fair can be a thrilling experience.

Family Rodeo: Since the 1800s, the rodeo lifestyle has involved families, and the tradition continues this year. At the Family Rodeo, families can enter and compete as a team. Events include mutton bustin', family barrel racing, family team roping, family daily ribbon roping, stick horse races and sibling poles.

Registration is at 4 p.m.; entry fees range from $10 to $25.

The top five boys and top five girls in mutton bustin' will be invited to compete again in the Friday evening rodeo for the championship title.

Mobile FMX Stunt Show: Mobile FMX, also commonly known as FMX or Moto-X, finds its origins in the sport of motocross. It has emerged as one of the fastest growing high-adrenaline sports of the new millennium and one of the most watched sports at the various extreme sports competitions.

Unlike traditional motocross, freestyle motocross places less emphasis on high speeds and more emphasis on the abilities of daredevil riders. Jumps are usually performed over a stretch of up to 150 feet, with the combination of suspense, danger and the unknown providing an excellent form of entertainment.

Come down and hear the thunder, see the dirt fly and witness the awesome athletes of the Mobile FMX Freestyle Stunt Crew perform death-defying big air jumps and stunts.

Noche Latina: The fair presents an evening to celebrate the Latino culture in Garfield County, with live music, dancing and horsemanship.

Jose Torres and his Mexican Charros headline the show. Torres, born in Michoacan, Mexico, has been training horses in Mexico and the U.S. since he was 14, working under Roberto Torres and Francisco Zamora. Horse dancing, dressage and reining have been his specialties for more than 30 years.

The show also includes a performance by the Grupo Folklorico Sol de Mexico of Rifle, directed by Jessica Hernandez, and a salsa dance demonstration by Tere and Ricardo Hernandez, longtime dance instructors at the Glenwood Springs Community Center and creators of Salsa Night in Aspen and the Basalsa Festival in Basalt.

CPRA Rodeo: Rodeo has been around for more than a century, partly because its events were born out of the real life work performed on ranches every day, and partly because it's a spectator sport like no other.

Enjoy all the thrills, spills and glory of professional rodeo with the return of the Colorado Pro Rodeo Association's rodeo. Events include steer wrestling, tie-down roping, bull riding, team roping, bareback riding, breakaway roping, mixed team roping, saddle bronc riding and ladies' barrel racing.

Starting with less than five rodeos in 1975, CPRA now sanctions 30 rodeos per year while maintaining a growing membership of approximately 600. CPRA finals takes place each September, held around the state. The top 12 contestants in each event compete for year-end and finals championship awards along with prize money.

Demo Derby: For more mechanized excitement, the demolition derby gives local drivers a chance to "crash it out" using junker cars. This quirky sport began in the 1950s, grew in popularity and became a subculture all its own.

As a sport, demolition derby has few rules, with most regulations focusing on the cars' composition and not on the actual action on the track. Competitors have traditionally used full-size, American-made sedans and station wagons, especially those from the 1960s and '70s, which were larger, heavier, and had more robust frames than later full-size vehicles.

Scrap vehicles are purchased from junkyards and private owners, usually for less than $500, though some select (and rust-free) mid-1970s sedans and station wagons may go for more than $1,000. A vehicle may be patched up and re-used for several events.

Pit crews have to work together efficiently in order to repair heat-winning cars so they can return to compete in the feature event. Drivers are required to wear a seat belt and helmet.

An event begins with drivers lined up in the arena with their tail lights facing each other. They begin in reverse and start crashing into each other. Drivers are usually required to crash into another vehicle every two minutes or they are labeled as "sandbagging" and become disqualified. The last running car wins the event.

Plan to get your tickets early, as this event is likely to sell out in advance.

Draft Horse Pull: Featuring the workhorses of yesteryear, this event runs through the late morning and afternoon, starting with the Shire Regional Halter Show. The Farm Show resumes at 1 p.m. with halter classes, including Western riding, Draft English riding, horsecarts, Gambler's Choice obstacle rides, farm teams running obstacles and skidding logs, heavy horse barrel racing and bareback riding, and a heavy horse egg and spoon race.

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The Post Independent Updated Jul 25, 2012 06:53PM Published Jul 25, 2012 06:50PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.