Concert brings big crowds to fairgrounds |

Concert brings big crowds to fairgrounds

Ryan Hoffman

2016 Garfield County Fair & Rodeo


7-11 a.m. • Kiwanis pancake breakfast – Heinze Park

10 a.m. • Parade – Railroad Avenue

10 a.m.-10 p.m. • Open Class Exhibits –­­ South Hall

10 a.m.-10 p.m. • 4-H Exhibits – North Hall

11:30 a.m. • Jr Livestock Sale Buyers’ BBQ – Event Hall (Buyers only)

Noon • Summer of Thunder Car Show – Metro Park

Noon • Aunt Bea & Uncle Durty – Free Stage

Noon-11 p.m. • Beer Garden

12:30 p.m. • 4-H/FFA Awards Announcement – Round Robin, Herdsman, Hedberg Scholarship

1 p.m. • Junior Livestock Sale – Indoor Arena

1 p.m. • Redneck Relay Race – Outdoor Arena Track

1:30 p.m. • Elias Caress, Magician – Free Stage

1:30 p.m. • Photography Shoot-out Finals – South Hall

2 p.m. • Watermelon Eating Contest- Free stage

2:30 p.m. • Nueva Generacion Folklórico - Free Stage

3-10 p.m. • Midway of Family Fun

3:45 p.m. • Elias Caress, Magician – Free Stage

4:30 p.m. • Exit 90 – Free Stage

6 p.m. • Ponder the Albatross – Free Stage

6:30 p.m. • Rifle Rotary Ball Drop – Outdoor Arena

7 p.m. • Demolition Derby

7:45 p.m. • Onda – Free Stage

9:30 p.m. • Fifty50 – Free Stage


9 am – noon • 4-H General Project check-out – North Hall

10 a.m. • 4-H/FFA Fairgrounds tear down

10 a.m.-1 p.m. • Open Class check-out – South Hall

Noon-6 p.m. • Midway of Family Fun

Noon • Marked by Faith – Free Stage

Noon-5:30 p.m. • Beer Garden

1:30 p.m. • Elias Caress, Magician – Free Stage

1:30 p.m. • Monster Truck Pit Party – Outdoor arena warm-up ring passes needed

2:30 p.m. • Monster Truck Destruction Tour – Outdoor arena

2:30 p.m. • Mariachi San Jose – Free Stage

4:30 p.m. • Caleb Dean Band – Free Stage

It did not take long for the duo of Chris Janson and Josh Turner to draw a sizeable crowd to the Garfield County Fairgrounds in Rifle Friday.

By 5 p.m. — two hours before the scheduled start time — the line of eager country music fans stretched outside the concert area and into the “Midway of Family Fun.”

The show was already sold out and by 5:40 p.m. the line of people ran outside of the fenced-in area and down the walkway leading out to Railroad Avenue.

Sitting in folding chairs at the front of that line were Agellee Pilkerton and Nancy Lombardi.

“You have to be first in line to get the best seat,” said Pilkerton, a Rifle resident who spent most of the week at the fairgrounds with her children competing in various 4-H contests.

Lombardi, a country music fan, traveled from Meeker for the show, and spoke favorably of both Janson, the opener and a rising name in the country music scene, and Turner, an established fixture on country radio stations.

“He sings ‘Buy me a Boat,’” Lombardi said of Janson. “My son sings that and I say ‘are you going to buy a boat?’”

The concert was the marquee event at the Garfield County Fair and Rodeo Friday night. In recent years, fair organizers have made a concerted effort to bring in acts with broad name recognition.

Turner is one of those acts, said Nate Strong, a Denver resident who has come to the Garfield County fair the past five years with his wife and daughters.

“This should be a good one,” Strong said of Turner, as his daughters had fun in a petting zoo at the fairgrounds. “I haven’t seen him yet … I’ve been wanting to see him for a while.”

While for some the concert is the attraction, for families involved in 4-H and Future Farmers of America, Friday night was a fun exclamation point on a long week.

Friday morning was the beef show, the last of a week of livestock shows, which culminate in the junior livestock auction today at 11 a.m.

“It’s refreshing to see the quality of young people in the county,” said Jay Rickstrew, who helped clerk the livestock shows. “When you sit there and watch the livestock shows and see how hard these kids have worked with these animals … it’s just amazing to see.”

Minus a few hitches transforming the arena from rodeo grounds on Thursday to a concert venue Friday, the fair has gone well, said Levy Burris, fair board president.

“So far it’s been great. No big issues. No big problems. Things are going well and people seem to be really enjoying it,” Burris said. “We’ve had a lot of positive feedback and compliments on the fair and it’s really turning into something big.”

Rifle resident Paco Sanchez concurred. He and his wife have come to the fair each year for the past 15. The fair has grown over those 15 years, Sanchez said, while specifically referencing the newly added Monster Truck Destruction Tour, which starts at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Sanchez intends to checkout the weekend offerings, weather permitting, he said with a chuckle.

Saturday’s festivities start early with the Kiwanis pancake breakfast 7-11 a.m. in Heinz Park, which also will serve as the epicenter for the annual parade. Floats and marchers will start making their way down Railroad Avenue at 10 a.m.

Railroad will be closed 9:30-11:30 a.m., while east Third Street will be closed 4-11:30 a.m. from Whiteriver Avenue to Railroad Avenue for parade activities.

A day of family fun and music will culminate in the demolition derby. The event usually sells out and Burris said they expect the same this year.

“So people need to come out and enjoy.”

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