Fairgrounds becoming a centerpiece for Garfield County
Over the next few days, thousands will head to the Garfield County Fairgrounds for 2017 Fair and Rodeo, an event in its 79th year that continues to get bigger and better thanks to improvements made to its facilities.
Last year’s headliner country concert sold 3,483 tickets generating $98,350, compared with $79,055 in ticket sales in 2015 and just $33,270 in 2014.
With the county putting an estimated $3 million into the complex over the past three years, competitors and the public are starting to take notice.
“It’s great to see them put money back in for the kids, it’s come a long way,” said Jenny Rhinaman from Rulison, who had children competing in some of the 4-H animal events, shows that her own mother competed in many years ago. “This used to be nothing but ranching, and it’s good to see them keep that here.”
As a fan and participant of the fair for many years, Rhinaman has been able to see the upgrades to the fairgrounds firsthand.
Many of the improvements made to the facility were designed for livestock purposes and will help make this year’s fair run as smooth as ever, including the brand new stalls near the indoor arena and a paved path designed for livestock to walk on.
Intermediate Alpaca Show competitor Leann Brand, who’s competed at the fair for three straight years, said that the new stalls are incredible and make it easy to come back because of how well the animals are kept.
“I’m not sure of anywhere else that has an indoor arena and stalls like we do,” said Fairgrounds Manager Debra Adams.
Doyle Allmon, who’s watched grandsons and great grandsons alike compete in the 4-H animal shows over the years, called the improvements “tremendous.”
“Everything you guys have done over there is really nice: the landscaping, the entrances, the parking, everything. That’s why you are getting more people,” Rifle Mayor Randy Winkler said at a July City Council meeting. “It’s money well spent and done right.”
Garfield County Commissioner Mike Samson, who grew up in Rifle and has pushed to see the fairgrounds become more of a centerpiece for the county, said that he thinks the improvements to the facilities will not only help draw more people, but also a wider range of events to the fairgrounds, such as the quinceañeras now hosted throughout the year.
In fact, the facility’s new commercial kitchen is available for start-ups to rent and is currently used for 4-H and CSU cooking classes.
While 4-H shows and exhibits will be ongoing throughout the week, tickets are available for some of the week’s most intense events such as the Xtreme Bull starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday and ProRodeo Night starting at the same time Thursday. Anyone still looking for tickets should purchase them online at http://www.garfieldcountyfair.com, by telephone at 800-626-TIXS (8497), in person at a kiosk in Alpine Bank at 100 E. Fourth Street in Rifle, or at the fair until the event sells out.
On Saturday, a parade will run down Railroad Avenue from 16th Street to Third Street beginning at 10 a.m., and on Sunday the ninth annual Summer of Thunder Car Show will be hosted at Metro Park.