Garfield County Fair ropes in its biggest crowd yet
You had to be quick to keep up with Merrill Johnson and Laura Young as they dodged ripe cow pies, rushed in from the outside horse arena, scrambled through the crowd and hopped into a stall bedded with sawdust where they demonstrated months of animal showmanship, education and training.
It was their Olympics.
Hope O’Neill watched from a nearby pen. She is cheery, lovely and blond. Her 1,300-pound steer named Flash Gordon is snotty, stout and saleable. Together they won overall grand champion, the gold medal of the livestock world.
The three young women were among a group of 30 4-H kids who competed in the round robin event at the Garfield County Fair.
“The kids are the most important part of the event, they work so hard at raising and selling at the auction,” said Vicki Ruchel, Garfield County Fairgrounds facility technician.
The theme was “Whatcha gonna LeDoux at the Garfield County Fair?”
And as it turned out, there was plenty to do, whether it was being tossed by a live bull at the rodeo or tearing it up on a mechanical one before the concert.
The eleven members of the Garfield County Fair Board provided to the community a jam-packed roster of entertainment including the biggie: snagging country music star Chris LeDoux.
And it made this year’s fair the most successful to date, with more than 4,000 people attending the concert that night.
The interest from the rest of the community was just as great as local artisans used fair exhibits to show their work. “We’ve never had so many exhibits. The fair is getting bigger and bringing more tourists in every year,” said Ruchel. She also noticed a lot more involvement in the parade.
“I don’t ever remember people sitting on the fence at the fairgrounds, lining the streets, hootin’ and hollerin!” she said.
Yet, in the midst of grand shows and lively creatures, it is the people who leave an impression on you. And that is really what the fair is about. It celebrates them and honors the life they love.
It is a rich culture of skills and strong bonds. It is a world where you watch seven days of competitions and never see a loser.
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