RIFLE — It started out slowly, but the weekend just got better and better at the 18th annual Rifle Rendezvous, held Friday through Sunday at the Garfield County Fairgrounds.
There was a small turnout for the live music played by Derringer on Friday evening.
“The band was excellent and they did a great job, but the attendance was not good,” said Scott Brynildson, president of the Rifle Rendezvous Festival Inc. “But it might have been because it was kind of cold and rainy.”
But Saturday was a different story.
Lines of people waited to get classic carnival food of fennel cakes, corn dogs, Polish and kraut dogs, kettle corn and curly fries. And there were also lines to get on the rides.
“The carnival was absolutely packed,” Brynildson said.
The bull riding event held in the late afternoon was put on by Tyler Farris Bucking Bulls out of New Castle with both ranch bronc riding and bull riding. Farris, a New Castle native, raises competitive cattle that run in the Professional Bull Riders circuit.
There were 14 riders competing in the Rendezvous event, and they came from around Colorado and Utah to compete for the cash prizes.
“We had eight bull contestants and six broncs [at the Rendezvous],” said Charla Farris, Tyler’s mother, who works with the family-operated company. “We didn’t have very many guys this week, but there were a lot of rodeos going on.”
Winners in the ranch bronc riding were Tyler Williams of Grand Junction in first and Cody Ebele of Fairplay in second. In the bull riding, Dusty Clegg of Utah took first and Dallas Rohrig of Rifle took second.
The event also included junior kids, amateurs, a calf scramble and mutton bustin’.
“The turnout for the bull riding was very good and also for the dance and the music afterwards,” Brynildson said. “Saturday was a totally different turnaround.”
The weekend hit its peak on Sunday with more than 300 people turning out for a breakfast put on by the Little Britches Rodeo, followed by a nondenominational church service.
“We had preachers and singers and seven different churches shut their doors for this service,” Brynildson said. “It was followed afterwards with a potluck.”
The Rendezvous committee tries to change up the events a bit each year and make improvements to the festival.
The indoor vendors probably didn’t do as well this year at the Rendezvous as in the past, Brynildson said.
“I think the vendors next year maybe need to be outside,” he said.
But all in all, Brynildson said he felt the 18th annual Rifle Rendezvous was a success.
“I was very happy with Saturday night and Sunday was the best we’ve ever had,” he summed up.