Garfield County Fairgrounds project finished in time for fair week in Rifle
Special to The Citizen Telegram
Just in time for the 75th anniversary Garfield County Fair in Rifle this week, a $900,000 improvement project at the fairgrounds was completed.
The dust has settled under a bright and shiny new parking lot surrounding the fairgrounds’ outdoor arena. While decades of horse, bull and bronc riders have pounded the grounds, preparing for the best times in the show arena, the dust rising into the sky from well-lit arenas will be only from grandstand events, not the parking lot.
Now the trucks, campers and well-stocked trailers arriving for the fair will park on brand new asphalt.
Frontier Paving employees and sub-contractors spent the summer managing dirt work and paving, as well as landscaping, sidewalk construction, irrigation, storm drainage infrastructure, fencing and lighting improvements. The fairgrounds project began in late May and was completed on time on July 26.
County Manager Andrew Gorgey said the county commissioners “made and kept a major financial commitment to one of the county’s most important and treasured community assets.”
“The fairgrounds property is being continually improved as a premier rodeo and event destination, and the commissioners are maximizing its economic development potential,” Gorgey said.
Upgrades include not only parking spots, but a landscaped berm (which now houses camping hookups), a larger equine warm-up area, and a design that directs pedestrians from the parking lot to a new stone entryway into the grandstands area. It was designed not only to be more efficient for vehicle parking, but safer for event participants and attendees.
“This project is a step into the future, which sets the pace for the fairgrounds and fair activity,” said Commissioner John Martin. “We are looking at facilities master plans for this property and the Garfield County Regional Airport. This is just the first of several steps towards an upgraded fairgrounds, with better stalls, a covered warm-up area, a rubberized track and proper changing areas for rodeo and riding participants, which I would like to see included in our facilities in future years.”
Fair week boasts not only 4-H, Future Farmers of America and open class competitions and shows, but also a family rodeo, a Heritage Night with a barn dance, Professional Bull Riding, the Charlie Daniels Band and Jack Ingram in concert, Colorado Professional Cowboys Association rodeo, a parade, livestock sale, a demolition derby and Fiesta Day. The grounds will be open daily and every evening with merchant booths, backstage bands, demonstrations and displays.
Complete fair information is available on the fair’s website, and many events sell out, so attendees are encouraged to purchase tickets online at garfieldcountyfair.com.
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Former Rifle Bears standout turned starting running back for Western Colorado University Ty Leyba remembers it like it was yesterday.