by Marissa Lorenz
The Middle Park Fair and Rodeo will kick off its 105th celebration on August 1 at the Middle Park Fairgrounds in Kremmling, bringing back with full vigor a long list of Western heritage activities that will appeal to young and old.
The first Middle Park Fair took place on the same grounds in October 1912 when a printed program promoted adult rodeo events, such as bronco riding and horse riding, and exhibits, primarily from local school children. And those same traditions have continued year after year, with the exception of a few years during the First and Second World Wars.
2021 will also offer rodeos and horsemanship, kids games, horseshoe competitions, and a week full of 4-H youth participants presenting the hard work they’ve put into projects all year, from animal husbandry of rabbits, poultry, swine, and beef to shooting sports, cake decorating, photography and more.
The Open Horse Show will launch the first week of Fair when riders of all ages are invited to demonstrate their mastery of Showmanship and Western Pleasure, starting at 8 a.m. on Sunday, August 1. Youth over 9-years-old and adults will show off their skills in Reining and Trail. And there will be English classes, judged on Hunter Under Saddle and Hunter Seat Equitation, and Halter classes for fillies, colts, geldings, and mares.
Monday will see the start of the 4-H animal shows, with the Dog Show at 8 a.m. and the Cat Show at 2 p.m. Dog trainers and their “best friends” will demonstrate showmanship, basic obedience, and skill on a rally course. Cat showmanship will come next, and the Costume and Crate Decorating Contest is sure to delight feline-lovers.
The Royalty Pageant begins at 6 p.m. and all are invited to hear contestants “share their knowledge of the Fair and its history as a panel of judges ask them questions.” Contestants are judged throughout the week on personality, poise, and horsemanship.
Exhibit Hall entries can be submitted all day on Tuesday at the Exhibit Hall for closed judging on Wednesday.
The 4-H Horse Show will begin at 8 a.m. on Tuesday. Horse-lovers can see various age groups illustrate their talent in showmanship; English seat equitation; English control; and Western horsemanship, reining, and riding. Then stay to see the Queens’ Horsemanship event, a festive contest complete with waving entry and flag carrying. The 4-H Poultry and Rabbit Shows will round out the day.
Wednesday will bring back the horses with the exciting 4-H Speed events in the morning. Watch local youth wow the crowds in barrel racing, pole bending, flag racing, keyhole, and ride & lead events. Livestock weigh-ins will take place in the afternoon.
And the Queens’ Barrel Race begins at 7 p.m. Bring the whole family to participate in barrels and pole bending, enroll the grandparents in the 50 and over barrels, and make sure dad doesn’t miss out on his exclusive barrel race. All monies raised go to the royalty scholarship program.
4-H members will show swine and beef on Thursday, and the Exhibit Hall will open to the public. Come check out all the creations of your neighbors, their kids, and/or your kids!
Thursday evening will showcase the next generation of cowboys at the Junior Rodeo. Children under 5 all the way to 18 will compete
in such competitions as goat tail tying and untying, goat tying, breakaway roping, team roping, steer riding, and bull riding.
Congratulate the fastest/highest scoring of those soon-to-be pros, as they will have the chance to move on to compete with the CPRA (Colorado Professional Rodeo Association) contestants in similar events during Sunday’s Pro Rodeo.
Friday will see the last of the 4-H animals with the sheep and goat shows before the Super Horse Contest begins at 11 a.m. This impressive event highlights the partnership between a single horse and rider, working together to prove their caliber in five separate events, heading, heeling, break-a-way, goat tying, and barrel racing.
The afternoon continues with tons of enchantment, as youth, 8-years-old and younger, show any animal they wish in the showring, interviewing with Middle Park Fair and Rodeo Royalty, and as contestants of all ages participate in the Dress Your Pet event.
The Round Robin will bring back all of the 1st and 2nd place showmanship winners from the livestock shows. Winners will
show each class again, and a Grand Champion showman will be named.
A series of rodeo events will follow, including the fast-paced match horse races and the traditional cowboy action of the ranch rodeo.
A calcutta auction will be held for each, and calcutta winners have the chance to also receive prizes if their horse or contestant wins.
The night will be capped off with an “old-fashioned Street Dance,” where local DJ, Brad Curry, will get the crowds moving and shaking until the cows come…until it’s time to head home.
The closing weekend of Fair will be nothing but fun.
Saturday will start out with games for the kids, such as a dunk tank and egg drop, and move right into grown-up games, such as horseshoes. There will be a cookie contest, judged by Grand and Summit County Commissioners; a pie contest, judged by local mayors; and a salsa showdown to benefit the West Grand High School FFA Activity Fund.
Lunch in the Dance Hall will honor this year’s Pioneers and Citizens of the Year.
Deane Murphy, Martha Wall, and Jim Yust will be recognized as Pioneers of the Year for their life-long contributions to traditional ranching and the Grand County legacy. Larry Banman and the Kremmling Area Chamber of Commerce will be commemorated as
Citizens of the Year for their ongoing efforts to make Grand County the best place one could live.
Saturday afternoon will bring what is, for many Fair participants, the apogee of the year. A tour of the 4-H champions will precede the Junior Livestock Auction, where local 4-H and FFA youth are rewarded for the hard work and care they put into raising their market animals.
Buyers can enjoy a free cocktail as they register for the sale at 2 p.m. 4-H awards are presented to the Round Robin, Supreme Exhibitor, and Rate of Gain champions.
And finally, a dynamic and community-focused auction will begin, with 4-Hers bringing their animals through the sale ring and individuals, restaurants, and other businesses bidding by the head.
But don’t think that the Fair ends there. In 2021, the Middle Park Fair and Rodeo will host Country music stars Colt Ford and Tracy Byrd for a live concert after the sale. Gates open at 6 p.m. and music will start at 7 p.m.
Attendees will be entertained by Ford with such lyrics as: “Yeah, back when life was simple as that, I didn’t know I’d miss it so bad,” from top hit “Back,” or “Lord have mercy; I love her kisses. Man, I can’t get enough, kinda like chicken and biscuits.”
And Byrd will alternately charm and woo concert-goers with lyrics such as: “After four rounds with Jose Cuervo, I was showing off moves never seen before,” and “I’m holdin’ heaven in my arms tonight; everything about you is so perfectly right.”
Sunday morning keeps the action going with CPRA slack at 8 a.m. Cowboy Church service will be held at 9 a.m. in the Dance Hall, offering worship, song, and fellowship.
Walk Your Wool will invite anyone to walk with a fiber-bearing animal, from rabbit, to sheep, goat, or alpaca, and present wool “at its best,” modeling outfits made of at least 50% wool. A typed resume must be turned in the day before.
And back in the grandstands, Catch-a-Calf will get spectators cheering before a CPRA rodeo brings in the pros for bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, team roping, bull riding, and more! The event will literally be crowned at 2 p.m. with the 2021 MPFR Royalty Coronation.
For more information on the 2021 Middle Park Fair and Rodeo, all events, and to buy tickets to the Saturday night concert, visit www. middleparkfairandrodeo.com
To read the full bios for this year’s Pioneers and Citizens of the Year, visit www.middleparkfairandrodeo.com