Douglas County Fair enjoys successful run
If you couldn’t find something fun to do at the 2007 Douglas County Fair, then you just weren’t looking. Everything from bull riding, PRCA rodeos, carnival rides, pie eating contests, stickhorse rodeos, blindman’s tractor driving, live concerts, 4H projects, tractor pulling, horse clinics, animal exhibits and auctions, goat costume contests, and smoked turkey legs (just to name a few) entertained fair-goers of all ages in the town of Castle Rock, Colorado. With all that commotion crammed into a week’s schedule, it’s no wonder organizers were happy with the results.
“We had a great fair this year,” stated Joe Kendrick, Douglas County Fair General Manager. “The quality of the livestock was great, the quality of the kids at the horse shows was great, and the entertainers this year were fabulous.”
Kendrick wasn’t the only fair official pleased with 2007’s outcome. Bob Thomas, the Chair of the PRCA Committee, offered praise for the rodeo product delivered to thousands of eager fans.
“I thought there was almost perfect execution of virtually everything,” described Thomas about each action-filled performance. “We were up in both attendance and contestants from previous years. You could feel the energy from the crowd, especially on Saturday night,” he continued, revealing the crowds packing the 2,500 seat grandstands were records for the fair. “We could feel (the energy), the contestants could feel it, and I think the stock felt it too.”
After watching all the rodeo action, it was easy to see why the large covered stands buzzed with excitement during every performance. Powder River Rodeo supplied ornery rough stock, both the announcer and music selections kept interest high, and Frankie Smith “The Punkin Town Clown” (who entertained Cheyenne Frontier Days audiences this year) was a comedic ball of fire. A free Sunday matinee rodeo didn’t hurt either.
“It’s excellent,” said Thomas about the free “Family Day” held on the last Sunday of the fair. The free day of admission to the fair and its rodeo has been offered for two years running and Thomas looks for it to become a tradition with staying power. “I think the potential is there for it to be really big.”
While the rodeo was a success, another big reason people attend a county fair is to absorb the positive atmosphere of young people and their 4-H projects. Wandering the multiple animal buildings throughout the Douglas County complex turned out to be an exercise in optimism for the future. In the chicken barn, Monica Short (14 years old), Rebecca Short (10 years old), and Marley Nahum (10 years old) loved showing off their live poultry projects named, respectively, “Mary Puffins”, “Mary Duffins”, and “Angel”. In the pig barn, there was a chance to meet eight year-old Andie Cunningham (who loved every single one of her hogs), while humble 11 year-old Kelton Good and his Grand Champion hog “Oreo” was worth the price of admission all by himself.
It wasn’t just the animal 4-H’ers who were outstanding. The displays and projects filling Kirk Hall were impressive in their own right.
“We have some talented young people in Douglas County,” said Mary Baldwin, a Douglas County Extension Agent and the person in charge of the Home Economic and General Project side of the 4-H division. “There were extremely well-done projects, from cake decorating to shooting sports,” she added. “If you walked through Kirk Hall, you saw what 4-H’ers in Douglas County are learning.”
According to Baldwin, all those completed projects were not just accomplishments for each participant; they were also preparation for their futures.
“They learned living skills to use for the rest of the their lives,” she said with conviction. “They learned speaking skills … and also saw what types of competitions are in the real world. There is competition for jobs and for so many things we do when we are adults,” she continued. “One of the biggest benefits 4-H’ers receive from completing their projects is learning to deal with successes and challenges in life.”
A trio of brothers, and 4-H participants, from Parker, Colorado backed up Baldwin’s opinions.
“What I liked most about 4-H was the feeling of accomplishment when I finished my project and it was displayed at the fair,” said 11 year-old Peter Kurz. Peter earned second place ribbons in both Jr. Air Rifle and Jr. .22 Rifle shooting, and put together an entomology project as well. “I liked seeing my project (in Kirk Hall) and the projects of others from my 4-H group,” he added. “I enjoyed seeing that others from my club (Parker Pegasus 4-H Club) did well.”
“I liked being able to be creative with my project,” said 13 year-old Benjamin Kurz, who garnered a first place ribbon in Jr. Air Rifle competition. “What I liked most about the fair was looking at all the (display) boards at Kirk Hall. It was fun to look at all of them.”
“It was fun,” agreed his younger brother, nine- year-old Jonathan. Jonathan also competed in Jr. Air Rifle and Jr. .22 Rifle shooting, and found out through his participation that practicing isn’t such a bad thing. “I liked practicing shooting,” he said with enthusiasm. “It gave me a reason to practice.”
From young people sold on 4-H to sold-out rodeos, the Douglas County Fair was a big success in 2007. They don’t plan to rest on their laurels, however. 2008 will be the 90th anniversary for the fair, and they are preparing to make it special.
“We’ve asked for additional money for a big celebration next year,” revealed Kendrick of the Fair Board’s intentions, before sending out a personal message to The Fence Post readers. “Come to the fair next year and see for yourself.”
If the next Douglas County Fair is bigger and better than this year’s version, it won’t be hard to look for fun. In fact, it’s looking good already.