by Marissa Lorenz
The Middle Park Fair & Rodeo invites the community to celebrate the 147th annual Kentucky Derby in Grand style with “great food, beers, cocktails; great prizes; and unlimited fun,” starting at 1 p.m., Saturday, May 1, at the Grand County Fairgrounds in Kremmling.
Referred to as the “greatest two minutes in sports,” the Kentucky Derby is the longest-running sporting event in the United States. It dates to May 17, 1875, when it was run on a specially-constructed track in Louisville, Kentucky, having been established by Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr., grandson of General William Clark of the early-American explorer duo, Lewis and Clark.
From the beginning, the Kentucky Derby was designed to be the preeminent spectacle horse race in America. Fifteen 3-year-old Thoroughbred horses ran 1.5 miles in that first race, cheered on by 10,000 attendees.
And the tradition has continued every year since with only minor changes, such as moving the event to the first weekend in May and shortening the course to 1.25 miles, and through major historical events, such as the Great Depression and both World Wars.
Even in 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was merely postponed and instead took place the first Saturday in September. It was only the second time in the history of the Derby that the race was uncertain, the first being in 1945 after the Office of War Mobilization predicted a “sport-less” year, as labor and material resources were needed for the war effort.
Indeed, the event has grown year after year, attracting over 170,000 spectators to the track in 2015. The Kentucky Derby is now known for its garland of roses, mint juleps, and extravagant hats. And it has become a fund-raising opportunity for other entities as well.
Kremmling’s 2021 Kentucky Derby Party will be the second annual Kentucky Derby fundraiser for the Middle Park Fair & Rodeo. It will include live horse races at the Grand County Fairgrounds, including a local calcutta and local match races, a live horse auction, and a Pick-Your-Horse contest.
Attendees will then move inside the Dance Barn to enjoy eating barbeque and watching the Kentucky Derby itself, broadcast live on numerous large-screen TVs. More fun will be shared in the form of door prizes, a raffle drawing, a 50-50 draw, a live gun auction, and the Ladies Hat Contest.
Prizes include a Traeger grill from Snap-On Tools, a custom fire pit from Concept Fabrication, and a $200 shopping spree from Mumma Fencing. High Mountain Firearms will be on-site for the live gun auction, auctioning an Aero Precision M4E1 5.56 NATO Atlas S-One 15” Handguard Magpul Stock & Grip Rifle.
Additional entertainment will be provided by Creative Logic, DJ Chris Davis with Spark Event Services, and Ear2Ear Photo Booth. And finally, the official After Party will take place at the Dean West on the Square.
Tickets for the “adrenaline-filled race” and “Kremmling’s hottest party of the year” are $40 in advance and $45 at the door.
Entrance includes attendance for all races, a catered meal from Sagebrush Cafe, beer served by Thirsty Dills, and five drink tickets, good for your choice of traditional Derby cocktails from Blue Valley Spirits. All proceeds from the event will go to support the 105th Middle Park Fair & Rodeo to be held August 1 through August 8, 2021.
Learn more at www.facebook. com/middleparkfairandrodeo. Tickets are available online or in-person at the Kremmling Chamber of Commerce.