Garfield County Fair’s annual Lil Buckaroo and Princess event showcases the future of rodeo | PostIndependent.com

Garfield County Fair’s annual Lil Buckaroo and Princess event showcases the future of rodeo

2019 Garfield County Fair

Thursday, Aug. 1

8 a.m. — Sheep Show, followed by Goat Show (1 ½ hours following the sheep show), Indoor Arena

10 a.m.–9 p.m. — Open Class Exhibits, South Hall; 4-H/FFA Exhibits, North Hall

12:30 p.m. — Judging: Apple Pie Contest, South Hall

1 p.m. — Judging: Commissioner Cookie Jar and Gingerbread Contests, South Hall

1:30 p.m. — Photography Shootout, South Hall

2:30 p.m. — The Perceptives (magic and crowd participation), Free Stage

3–11 p.m. — Midway of Family Fun, Carnival opens

3:30 p.m. — The Perceptives, Free Stage

5–9:30 p.m. — Beer Garden

5:30 p.m. — The Perceptives, Free Stage

7 p.m. — PRCA ProRodeo, Outdoor Arena

8:30 p.m. — Leslie Tom, Free Stage

Friday, Aug. 2

8:30 a.m. — Beef Exhibition Show, Indoor Arena

9:30 a.m. — Beef Show, Indoor Arena

10 a.m.–9 p.m. — Open Class Exhibits, South Hall; 4-H/FFA Exhibits, North Hall

11 a.m. — Apple Pie Eating Contest, Free Stage

12:30 p.m. — The Perceptives, Free Stage

12–11 p.m. — Midway of Family Fun, Carnival

1:30 p.m. — The Perceptives, Free Stage

1:30 p.m. — Photography Shootout, South Hall

2:30 p.m. — The Perceptives, Free Stage

4 p.m. — Round Robin Showmanship Contest, Indoor Arena

5–11 p.m. — Beer Garden

5:15 p.m. — Ragland, Free Stage

7 p.m. — Trace Adkins with Joe Nichols, Outdoor Arena

10 p.m. — The Band Alexis, Free Stage

Saturday, Aug. 3

10 a.m. — Parade, Railroad Avenue

10 a.m.–9 p.m. – Open Class Exhibits, South Hall; 4-H/FFA Exhibits, North Hall

11 a.m. — The Perceptives, Free Stage

11:30 a.m. — Buyer’s BBQ (Buyers Only), Event Hall

11 a.m. — Strongest of the Strong Contest, Outdoor Arena Track

12 p.m. — Summer of Thunder Car Show, Metro Park

12–11 p.m. – Midway of Family Fun, Carnival; Beer Garden

12:30 p.m. — The Perceptives, Free Stage

12:30 p.m. — Livestock Awards announcement, Indoor Arena

1 p.m. — Jr. Livestock Sale, Indoor Arena

1 p.m. — Redneck Relay Race, Free Stage

1:30 p.m. — Photography Shootout Finals, South Hall

3:15 p.m. — The Perceptives, Free Stage

4:15 p.m. — Watermelon Eating Contest, Free Stage

5:30 p.m. — Ponder the Albatross, Free Stage

7 p.m. — Demolition Derby, Outdoor Arena

9:30 p.m. — Fifty50, Free Stage

Sunday, Aug. 4

10 a.m.– 2 p.m. — 4-H/FFA General project check out, North Hall

10 a.m.–1 p.m. – Open Class check out and Premium pay out, South Hall

12 p.m. — Monster Truck Rides, Outdoor Arena

12–9 p.m. — Midway of Family Fun, Carnival

12–5:30 p.m. — Beer Garden

12:30 p.m. — The Perceptives, Free Stage

1 p.m. — Monster Truck & Tuff Truck track party, Outdoor Arena

2 p.m. — Monster Truck Show, Outdoor Arena

3:30 p.m. — The Perceptives, Free Stage

5 p.m. — The Perceptives, Free Stage

9 p.m. — Fair closes

The wind whipping through the Garfield County Fairgrounds and the stomping of nearly 100 contestants’ feet turned the outdoor arena into a miniature dust bowl in Rifle.

Dressed in their best cowboy attire, some complete with chaps and protective riding vests, contestants ages 4 to 12 were prepared to test their mettle in three different events including Mutton Bustin’, Goat Tail Untie, and the Calf Scramble in the rodeo arena at the Fairgrounds Tuesday.

New Castle residents and first-time fair attendees Kate Owens and her daughters, Riley, 7, and Parker, 4, anxiously waited along the old horse racing track rail for the events to begin.

“I’m excited for them, I think they are going to have a good time,” Owens said.

With a huge smile on her face, Parker Owen couldn’t hide her excitement as she said she was looking forward to the Calf Scramble.

The first event, Mutton Bustin’, was a test of bravery and riding ability as young contestants hopped aboard sheep to see how long they could hold on.

With the help of three adult volunteers, each rider jumped on an animal, choosing to ride facing forward or backwards. The little cowboys and cowgirls grabbed two handfuls of the sheep’s wool coat before they were let loose across the arena.

Rider after rider tested their strength and will, as the animals sprinted across the arena floor one after another into the twilight of the evening.

Most of the sheep ran for a few seconds before stopping and allowing the rider to slide off easily. But there were a few riders who took the ride of their lives, as the sheep crow-hopped and darted multiple directions trying to dump their new passenger in the dirt.

In between three rounds of Mutton Bustin’, contestants tried their hands at the Goat Tail Untie, in which they had to chase down a goat tethered in the arena and pluck a ribbon off its tail.

As the contestants filed out of the arena after the completion of the second event, an excited Howard Miller jumped up and down proclaiming his victory in the Goat Tail Untie to his parents.

His parents, Chris and Brooke Miller of Rifle, have been coming to the event for the last three years, ever since their children have been old enough to compete.

With their four children — Tracey, twins Howard and Caroline, and LeeLee — in tow, the Millers took in the annual event.

“Such a great event. They have so much fun,” Brooke Miller said. “He (Howard) talked about riding the sheep all year.”

With their fifth child due in November, the Millers plan to continue to come to the event with their growing family.

“They are definitely scared sometimes. I think it helps them overcome fears,” Chris Miller said.

“It gets them more associated with animals and really lets them be part of the Rifle culture.”

The final event of evening was the Calf Scramble. The event pitted all the contestants against more than a dozen calves set loose in the arena.

The objective was to find the calves with the ribbons on the tail, be the first to grab it and return to the center of the arena to be proclaimed the winners.

In a mad dash, children scrambled across the arena floor, causing the animals to dart in all directions.

After a few minutes of anarchy, the victors appeared out of the cloud of dust in the middle of the arena with ribbons in hand.

Rifle resident and parent of second-year competitors, Michael Jennings stood beside the arena taking in the event and the cheering and child laughter that filled the evening air.

“It’s fun for the young kids. It gives them a shot to see what it’s like to be out there in the arena in front of people,” Jennings said.

“They get to get out there and do something they are not used to — farm kids get to. It gives city kids a chance to get out there and hang with the animals.”

kmills@postindependent.com


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