Rifle set for its annual rendezvous | PostIndependent.com

Rifle set for its annual rendezvous

In the mid-1800s, Rocky Mountain rendezvous served as a place where people of all cultures could assemble and exchange their goods, values and ideas. Now, more than a century and a half later, the Rifle Rendezvous Festival serves as a reminder of town's history and has become a signature event.

Beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday, the Garfield County Fairgrounds will open for the 21st annual Rifle Rendezvous Festival filled with carnivals, rodeo and much more.

Since its first years, the annual event has been regularly retooled to broaden its appeal and ensure that no two rendezvous are the same.

"The rendezvous changes every year," said Scott Brynildson, president of the Rifle Rendezvous. "Turnout was better than ever last year, and we hope to have even better turnout this year."

Brynildson estimated that the event saw several thousand people come through last year, a number he hopes to top this year.

Among the changes in this year's festival, the rendezvous will introduce a new event, the Law Enforcement Torch Run and Line of Duty Memorial, at the human services parking lot from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

The event honors law enforcement officers that have lost their lives in the line of duty, Brynildson said.

At 9 a.m., officers and those in attendance will participate in a 5K run followed by a family fun walk and a barbecue at 10:30. For more information or to pre-register find the link at http://www.garcosheriff.com, or call 970-945-0453.

Garfield County Sheriff's Office public information officer Walt Stowe said that starting at noon, there will be a memorial dedicated to the 144 U.S. officers who lost their lives in the line of duty in 2016, celebrating the lives of the three officers that died in Colorado.

During the memorial, the Rifle Police Department will hold its annual signature event, the Rifle Police Department Bike Rodeo.

Rifle Police Department Office Manager Robin Steffen said that the event will include a bike obstacle course to teach local kids bike safety.

"Everybody in the department is excited. We started planning months in advance," Steffen added.

She said the event has grown each year, and this year officers will be handing out raffle tickets for kids to win free bikes, scooters and more. Thirty bikes, 10 scooters and five skateboards will be given out in the raffle, and officers will also hand out helmets to riders that don't have one.

Also new this year will be the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Rifle Heritage Museum. In celebration of the milestone, admission to the museum will be free Saturday.

Last year the festival's annual car show moved downtown to Third Street and will remain there this year. The 100 block of east Third Street in downtown will be closed off Saturday so folks can check out the classic cars that will be displayed, which is something Brynildson says local businesses fully support.

"Local businesses love all of the walking traffic it provides," he said.

The event also includes live music and a beer garden.

While the big events this year will be the Truck Mud Run, bull riding and carnival, Brynildson encourages families to come out for all three days, as there is something for everyone.

"You should be looking forward to good family fun and entertainment," Brynildson added.