GarCo Fair celebrates Rifle’s centennial |

GarCo Fair celebrates Rifle’s centennial

There was plenty to celebrate this year at the annual Garfield County Fair & Rodeo, which coincided with Rifles centennial celebration.Every year, one of the biggest draws of the event is the country music concert that falls on the last night of the fair.This year the concert featured local opening act Cowboy Attitude and headliners Mark Wills, Trent Willmon and Patty Loveless, who each played one and a half hour sets.The concert, which draws thousands of countrymusic lovers, donates some of the proceeds to the Future Farmers of America and the 4-H Club, which are both local youth clubs. Last year they gave away three scholarships worth $2,100 in all. This year the ticket prices were a little higher so concert promoters could give more to the clubs.While KMTS manages the event, which includes turning the rodeo arena into an elaborate concert stage and securing the music talent, they rely heavily on generous sponsors and more than 100 volunteers to put on the show.But even after the months of preparation and the myriad of channels the stations must take to bring country music stars to town, Deb Sjodahl, who is the operations and promotions manager at KMTS, said that its worth it. Its all for the kids, she said. Inside the fair arena, to the rapid speech of an auctioneer, 4-H participants poked, prodded and pulled their bulls, pigs and goats into the livestock auction, which is their seminal event of the year.For sellers, its payday. For buyers, its an opportunity to support the areas local farmers and ranchers.And its a serious financial transaction, especially when a heifer can sell for $22,000.But its the kids who reap the benefits from learning how to raise, show and sell their prize animals.It teaches responsibility, said Megan Hamilton. 4-H has died in some counties, she said. But ours is one of the best.The fair also gives pioneer families the chance to keep alive traditions their descendants started . Renelda Batson, whose family is six generations strong, grew up on a ranch on Divide Creek with 12 siblings.It was so neat to come to town, she said. Like the 4-H Kids now, they waited all year for fair to roll around.While Batson would like to see some of the old events like Apple Pie Days have the significance it once had, she uses the fair to bring some of their past into the present.We just like being part of new history, she said.

From left, Dave Milo, of Silt, owns a hot shot company; Johnna Bosworth, of Silt, shows steers; and Lindsey Soucie, of Basalt, is a senior at Basalt High School.

Rifle ladies Kristi Parsons, left, owns Rifle Paint & Supply, and Darcy Copeland owns Copeland Concrete.

Headed to the concert are Royce, left, and George Mosher, of New Castle, who won their VIP tickets from KMTS. Royce works for the Garfield County Clerk & Recorder and George works for Wagner Rents in Gypsum.

Rifle students from left, Alex Brown, 13, is in eighth grade at Rifle Middle School; Adam Miller, 14, is a freshman at Coal Ridge; LeAnn Brock, 13, is in eighth grade at Rifle Middle School; and Ashley Rickstrew, 11, is in sixth grade at Rifle Middle School.

From left, Dave Murray, of Rifle, is a truck driver for Double Trouble Trucking; Westy Heil, of Fruita; Tracey Lauffer, of Rifle, works for Double Trouble Trucking and Michelle Lauffer, of Rifle, works for Orrison Distributing.

From left, Bill Knutson, of Glenwood, owns Sopris General Contractors; Brenda Knutson works for Flooring America; Tonya Uren, of Glenwood, owns Details Resource; and Rich Uren, of Glenwood, works for B&H Contractors.

Concert volunteers from left, Nicole Wagner, of Basalt, is pursuing an acting career; Michelle Wagner is an alternative arts healer; and Marcie Cooper, of Palisade is a graphic designer.

From left, Sher Long, of Battlement Mesa, is landowner relation coordinator for EnCana Oil & Gas; Alan Lambert, of Rifle, is a member of the Rifle City Council and owns Divide Creek Wood Turnings; and Patty Lambert, of Rifle, is the executive director at the Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce.

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