It’s back: Cruise on down to the Rifle Rendezvous |

It’s back: Cruise on down to the Rifle Rendezvous

Alejandro Sacramento with Brown's Amusement checks one of the rides after installing it in preparation for this weekend's Rifle Rendezvous at the Garfield County Fairgrounds.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Carnival rides, best beard competitions, live music and so much more kick-off in Rifle this weekend.

After its cancelation in 2020 due to COVID-19, the Rifle Rendezvous is back for its 24th year. With more than three days of events and activities, the annual festival began at 5 p.m. Thursday and runs until Sunday afternoon.

The festival is located at the Garfield County Fairgrounds.

On Thursday, Rifle Rendezvous board president Annie MacGregor said they’ve already sold 1,000 tickets in advance. This year, it’s $35 at the gate.

“Typical year we have about 2,500 attendees per day,” she said. “We’re going to be packed, for sure.”

What: Rifle Rendezvous

Where: Garfield County Fairgrounds & Events Center, 1001 Railroad Ave, Rifle

When: 4-11 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m.-close Saturday; 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday

How much: $35 at the gate

This year also features a new attraction. On Sunday afternoon, C4C Production hosts “Rendezvous Ridin’ Dirty 4 wheeler race and Side by Side events.” The off-road extravaganza invites anyone with a dirt bike, ATV or side-by-side to come to be a part of the show.

To watch, people must submit a can of human or pet food, which will either be donated to the LIFT-UP food pantry or Rifle Animal Shelter.

Alejandro Sacramento with Brown's Amusement checks one of the rides after installing it in preparation for this weekend's Rifle Rendezvous at the Garfield County Fairgrounds.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

“It’s our goal to bring our families out and have a little fun in the dirt,” MacGregor said.

Registration is $20 or $10 if a rider submits a can of human or pet food. Pits open at 10:30 a.m. Sunday and the event is slated for 1-3 p.m. To join, call Roger Coombs at 970-379-4460.

But before Sunday’s big show, there’s so much more to enjoy. Amid the events, all day Friday through Sunday people can browse the various vendors and booths — the largest amount the festival has ever seen.

“We have over 45 vendors,” MacGregor said. “On a typical year, we’re right there around 25, sometimes 30.”

Friday’s festivities begin at 4 p.m., with the opening of the carnival. Folks can enjoy 18 of their favorite rides, which can range anywhere from mini roller-coasters to carousels.

Being it’s one of the first in-person events to occur in Rifle since the COVID-19 pandemic, Rifle Mayor pro tem Theresa Hamilton said people should be anxious to get back to enjoying the same events and socialization experienced prior to the pandemic.

“I think that outdoor events, in particular, are really good opportunities for people to feel like we’re getting back to normal,” she said.

Volunteers work to set up the stage inside the Garfield County Fairground indoor arena in preparation for this weekend's Rifle Rendezvous.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

The day closes out with the Garfield County Sheriff’s K9 Exhibition from 5-6 p.m. From 7-11 p.m. the Garfield County 4H will host a family fun fundraiser, which highlights all the various accomplishments of the local 4H participants.

The Garfield County 4H will also provide live music by “Feeding Giants.”

On Saturday, catch several intense, quirky, laugh-out-loud events scheduled throughout the entire day. Skaters, scooters and BMXers kick things off with a competition, which will transition into a Rifle Police Department Bike Rodeo. The event is slated from 9 a.m. to noon.

Starting at noon Saturday, come see who has the finest stubble as folks enter a best beard and mustache competition.

Live music will serenade the fairgrounds all morning and afternoon. Performances include Garfield County local Whiskey Stomp, Queen Bee’s Band and A Band Called Alexis, which usually closes out the evening.

But if you’re really trying to catch something unique, catch a live performance by the Firefighters National Touring Bagpipe Band, from 1-2 p.m.

Sunday will close out the festival’s live music with a performance by Conjunto Revelacio Band from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Finally, hang on to your hats for the off-road rally.

Beer and wine will be provided by the Rifle Elks Lodge #2195 Friday through Sunday.

The wearing of masks and social distancing are encouraged.

“Come out, enjoy our community and what we have and do it in a safe manner so that we can keep our families safe going forward,” MacGregor said.

For a complete list of the events, visit the Rifle Rendezvous website at

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or

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