Colorado State Fair Fun for the Whole Family |

Colorado State Fair Fun for the Whole Family

Story & Photos by Robyn Scherer, M.Agr.
Kiowa, Colo.
Swine showmen compete in the senior swine showmanship competition.

Fall marks the time for fair season, but no fair is as large in the state as the Colorado State Fair. Held from August 23 through September 2 in Pueblo, the fair annually sees nearly half a million visitors from across the state.

“While the Colorado State Fair showcases carnivals, concerts and vendors, its foundation stems from Colorado’s vast agricultural community,” said State Fair General Manager, Chris Wiseman. “The fair strives to help ensure a strong agricultural future by emphasizing its importance to today’s youth.”

Started in 1869, approximately 2,000 people converged on what is now Pueblo for a horse exhibition; and from that meager beginning was born the Colorado State Fair.

Attendees have a variety of events to attend, from livestock shows to rodeos to concerts.

The livestock shows offer competitions for youth in the market classes, and competition for adults in the open breeding classes. Youth can compete in market hogs, lambs, goats and cattle. Youth exhibitors can also compete in the youth and open breeding classes.

The market beef and market goat shows will be held on August 23, and the market swine show will be held on August 24. The market lamb show will be held on August 25. All of the grand champion selections will take place on the evening of the respective show. The sale will take place on August 27.

The annual Colorado’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Junior Livestock Sale at the Colorado State Fair is instrumental in supporting the future of Colorado’s agribusiness as it demonstrates to youth the importance of raising quality livestock and the work required of those who pursue careers in agriculture.

The top selling animal at the sale was the Grand Champion Market Steer, which sold for $55,000, breaking the old record of $53,500. The steer was shown by Cody Huwa, 14, of Roggen, Colo.

The sale is the largest 4H and FFA event of its kind in Colorado. The 2012 sale accumulated approximately $478,800 from the state’s most dedicated bidders, more than $70,000 more than the 2011 figure of $407,325.

“The Colorado State Fair is honored to host this annual event for Colorado’s 4-H and FFA youth; we provide $340,000 of our annual budget and facilities to these organizations because we believe their hard work and dedication to the agricultural community,” said General Manager Chris Wiseman. “I also want to thank the generous bidders for their financial support of these great kids.”

Nonmarket classes give youth and adults a chance to compete as well. The junior breeding cattle show will take place on August 26, with the Supreme breeding championship drive being held at 6 p.m. that evening.

The open meat breed sheep show and open breeding bull cattle show will be held on August 27. The open female cattle show, along with the open wool breed show will be held on August 28. The speciality cattle shows will be held between August 30 and September 2.

The open Boer goat show will be held on August 29 and 30, and the open dairy goat show will be held on September 1 and 2. The dairy heifer show will be held on August 30.

The Fourth Annual Colorado Farm Bureau’s Governor’s Beef Show will be held on August 23, and legislators and other dignitaries will learn to show a market beef, and then compete in a showmanship competition.

Another big draw to the fair is the rodeos. The Colorado State Fair Rodeo is sanctioned by the PRCA for the 53rd year in 2013. Each night offers something special. Friday, Aug. 23, will offer some audience interaction events in addition to the traditional rodeo events.

Saturday, August 24 is the Sponsor Calf Dressing, as a special event. Sunday, August 25 American Hero’s Day and everybody with a military ID or emergency responder ID gets in for $5, and that includes gate admission. The Freestyle Bullfights also follow the rodeo this night. It’s an evening of near-misses as the bullfighters compete to see who can get closer to the bull without getting stomped on.

This night of PRCA Rodeo action, Tuesday, Aug. 27, isn’t just about one kind of cancer … it’s about the fight against all cancer. Show your support by wearing the Cancer Fight color of your choice on this night.

That evening, the fair will raise money for the Cowboys Kickin’ Cancer. Tickets for the St. Mary-Corwin Cowboys Kickin’ Cancer VIP Dinner are available through the St. Mary-Corwin Foundation office. They are $50 and include dinner catered by Texas Roadhouse starting at 4 p.m, a live auction, gate admission onto the grounds and an action packed PRCA Rodeo performance.

The St. Mary-Corwin Cancer Patient Needs Fund helps cancer patients pay for everything from household bills to accommodations for them while they are getting their treatments to medicine. The Colorado State Fair is proud to partner with this cause and has helped raise over $151,000 for the Cancer Patient Needs Fund over the last seven years.

Another popular event at the fair is the entertainment series. The 2013 Colorado State Fair entertainment series has been finalized and a diverse, star-studded lineup is scheduled. The stage spotlights will be shining on a variety of shows including country, alternative metal, legendary musicians and up and coming superstars.

“This lineup is diverse and exciting — and at a great price,” said State Fair General Manager, Chris Wiseman. “Each ticket also gives fans the option of coming early and enjoying a full day at the fair with no additional cost. Besides a great show, these tickets can also provide hours of entertainment that include our free attractions such as Welde Bears and the sandcastle, livestock shows, free stages and much more.”

The fair will feature performances from Randy Houser, Dwight Yoakum, The Oak Ridge Boys, Little Big Town with guest Dustin Lynch, Seether, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Creedence Clearwater Revisited.

Last year, nearly 475,000 people attended the fair, and 70,000 of those took part in the entertainment series. The State Fair General Entry department received more than 8,000 entries in a variety of categories including fine arts, canning, quilts, crops and cooking.

Over 450 commercial and food vendors sold products at last year’s fair. An assortment of delicious fair food was offered to tempt taste buds including red velvet funnel cakes, gourmet hot dogs, hamburgers, and deep fried pop tarts.

The 2013 Colorado State Fair will mark the Fair’s 141st year as Colorado’s premier celebration of agriculture. The Fairgrounds provides nearly $34 million in economic activity to Colorado throughout the year; $29 million of that activity is driven by the annual State Fair event. In addition to showcasing Colorado agriculture, the annual event features one of the country’s largest traveling carnivals, artwork, crafts, food competitions, thrilling rodeo action, a wide variety of food and merchandise booths and a Fiesta Day honoring Colorado’s ties to the Hispanic culture. ❖