Gearing up for the GarCo Fair and Rodeo |

Gearing up for the GarCo Fair and Rodeo

Ryan Hoffman
Christopher Mullen Post Independent Cody Smith and his son Tyler Smith chase down a calf during the team roping competition at the Garfield County Fair, August 4.
Christopher Mullen / Post Independent |

The Garfield County Fair and Rodeo had experienced somewhat of a resurgence in the past several years, a trend that organizers hope will continue this year.

Many of the same favorites are returning for the 2015 fair, which runs Aug. 3-8. Those favorites include the Family Rodeo, which is entering its fourth year after a prolonged absence from the fair lineup.

Cody Smith, Fair Board vice president, helped revive the Family Rodeo four years ago, and Smith says it has grown every year since.

“It’s a family event that I started doing a few years ago and it’s really wrapped around the kids,” he said.

The demolition derby, another popular event, also returns to the fair this year. The derby, which is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 8, usually either sells out completely or comes close to it, said Levy Burris, Fair Board president.

“The demo derby that we put on at the fair is becoming one of the biggest on the Western Slope,” he added.

The derby, Burris said, is representative of what the fair board has tried to do with the fair as a whole.

“We’ve redesigned some things over the last couple of years that seem to be working well in terms of the midway and the entrance to it all and getting people to the vendors, both the food vendors and the games,” he said.

In addition to the layout, the board has worked hard to land big names for the Friday night entertainment, which the succeeded in doing this year by landing country artist Gary Allan.

Over nine albums, Allan has produced 26 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, with four of those reaching No. 1.

Hopefully with the big name and modestly prices tickets — the price varies depending on seating choice — the fair will see as many if not more people on Friday night than last year, and that will carry over into Saturday, Smith said.

The fair has had to confront the issue of not having a carnival, which typically run on a set circuit, Burris said. By the time the fair comes around, the carnival circuit has already moved on from the Western Slope.

“That’s been a little problematic over the last seven or eight years, so we’ve tried to sustain family involvement and everything else for everybody, for all ages and keep in affordable,” Burris said, “even though we don’t have a carnival.”

The fair really kicks off Monday, Aug. 3, with the Family Rodeo at the fairgrounds. The top five boys and the top five girls that evening will compete for trophies that Wednesday during the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) Xtreme Bulls event.

In the past, the fair featured the Professional Bull Riders circuit, but fair officials opted to go with the PRCA this year. Thursday night at 7 p.m. will feature the PRCA ProRodeo.

Prior to the rodeo, the fair will recognize its rodeo royalty — a program that provides young women an opportunity to represent the Garfield County Fair and Rodeo, and the sport of rodeo.

This year’s royalty include: Mariah Harris, queen; Makerah Harris, junior queen; and Georgia Kaye Kuersten-Weller, princess.

“We try to make as big an event out of it as possible because the girls work really hard for that,” Burris said.

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