Elbert County Fair serves up good times | TheFencePost.com

Elbert County Fair serves up good times

Bull Rider Tony Mendes won the afternoon section of bull riding with a nice score of 83 points during the Cowboy Up in Kiowa Rodeo.

The 76th annual Elbert County Fair arrived on the scene in Kiowa, Colo., from July 31 through August 8, bringing with it a slew of 4-H’ers and county residents ready for competition, socializing and, most important, a lot of fun.

Kicking off the fair’s first weekend was the Cowboy Up in Kiowa Rodeo, an event scaled down to just bull riding in 2009 due to the weak economy, but returning in 2010 with two complete performances. The fact this year’s rodeo arrived in full was a testament to excellent community support inside and outside the county.

“Last year we were only able to do the bull riding because of the economic times,” explained Terri Mills, a Kiowa resident and Chairman of the Cowboy Up in Kiowa Rodeo for the last three years. “A lot of (our sponsors) had really hard times so we could only do the bull riding. This year, a lot of the businesses around here and in Castle Rock and Franktown, they just stepped up double to the plate, so we were able to come back with dual rodeos.”

Asked regarding the rodeo’s slot on the first weekend of the fair, Mills answer was optimistic.

“We really enjoy being the kickoff (event),” she said with enthusiasm about the rodeo and the good number of competitors who show up every year. “There are three other CPRA rodeos running this weekend and we had one of the better counts for contestants. They like to keep returning to this area, so it’s a plus and a positive for us.”

Another plus during the fair’s busy schedule was a Dutch Oven Cook-Off competition held on Friday afternoon. The 10-year tradition is a staple in Elbert County and eight teams cheerfully treated the community to gourmet quality breads, sides, meats and dessert dishes cooked old style over coals and embers. Despite its slot on a Friday afternoon, a crowd of more than 50 people were already gathered an hour before the public tasting began, ready and raring to sample every one of the outstanding dishes. The enthusiastic response is a big reason the teams sign up for the cook-off competition, but their main motive is a chance to get together and have a good time with like-minded “chefs.”

Recommended Stories For You

“I like the camaraderie and the community feel,” said Mark Moore, a Parker, Colo., resident and businessman who brings a full chuckwagon along with a team of close-knit buddies in western attire to these kinds of events. “(This contest) is not commercialized. It’s good healthy competition and we all help each other,” he added while mixing up a mouthwatering side dish of cheesy hash browns. “It gives us an excuse to just get together and cook. We’re here for fun.”

Moore and his friends weren’t the only ones enjoying the county fair’s culinary competition.

“It’s just fun,” stated Nikki Lowns, an Elizabeth resident and a primary organizer of this year’s event after Touchstone Energy dropped its sponsorship last year. Lowns teamed up in the contest with her husband Brian, taking home second place overall from the trio of local judges, but the best part of her day was getting together with the seven other teams. “Everybody knows everybody,” she said of the good-natured banter between entrants while they presented their dishes to a trio of judges. “So many of them out here, especially, have grown up together; so it’s just all family. We all trash talk each other (and) we all visit each other all day,” she continued with a smile. “It’s like a family reunion.”

Just like every family reunion, the more guests that arrive, the better the celebration tends to be. Elbert County Fair organizers enjoyed seeing the community come out and play throughout its nine-day run, as well as viewing all the hard work put in by 4-H’ers who epitomize what a county fair is all about.

“The 4-H members work hard all year and the fair is like the icing on the cake for their projects,” said Sheila Kelley, 4-H Extension Agent/Interim Director for Elbert County. “We had almost 400 members participate in fair activities this year, which includes livestock and general projects. When you look at the creativity and responsibility these youth have invested in their animals and exhibits, it shows what a wealth (of) talent we have here in Elbert County.”

Regarding the fair itself, Kelley had upbeat things to say.

“Overall, everything went quite smoothly this year,” she shared. “There were no major hurdles to get over (and) it was a good time for everyone involved, as far as I can tell.”

Judging by the general public’s positive response to the Cowboy Up in Kiowa Rodeo and the Dutch Oven Cook-Off competition, to name just a few events on the full calendar, the Elbert County Fair had plenty of good times to go around.

The 76th annual Elbert County Fair arrived on the scene in Kiowa, Colo., from July 31 through August 8, bringing with it a slew of 4-H’ers and county residents ready for competition, socializing and, most important, a lot of fun.

Kicking off the fair’s first weekend was the Cowboy Up in Kiowa Rodeo, an event scaled down to just bull riding in 2009 due to the weak economy, but returning in 2010 with two complete performances. The fact this year’s rodeo arrived in full was a testament to excellent community support inside and outside the county.

“Last year we were only able to do the bull riding because of the economic times,” explained Terri Mills, a Kiowa resident and Chairman of the Cowboy Up in Kiowa Rodeo for the last three years. “A lot of (our sponsors) had really hard times so we could only do the bull riding. This year, a lot of the businesses around here and in Castle Rock and Franktown, they just stepped up double to the plate, so we were able to come back with dual rodeos.”

Asked regarding the rodeo’s slot on the first weekend of the fair, Mills answer was optimistic.

“We really enjoy being the kickoff (event),” she said with enthusiasm about the rodeo and the good number of competitors who show up every year. “There are three other CPRA rodeos running this weekend and we had one of the better counts for contestants. They like to keep returning to this area, so it’s a plus and a positive for us.”

Another plus during the fair’s busy schedule was a Dutch Oven Cook-Off competition held on Friday afternoon. The 10-year tradition is a staple in Elbert County and eight teams cheerfully treated the community to gourmet quality breads, sides, meats and dessert dishes cooked old style over coals and embers. Despite its slot on a Friday afternoon, a crowd of more than 50 people were already gathered an hour before the public tasting began, ready and raring to sample every one of the outstanding dishes. The enthusiastic response is a big reason the teams sign up for the cook-off competition, but their main motive is a chance to get together and have a good time with like-minded “chefs.”

“I like the camaraderie and the community feel,” said Mark Moore, a Parker, Colo., resident and businessman who brings a full chuckwagon along with a team of close-knit buddies in western attire to these kinds of events. “(This contest) is not commercialized. It’s good healthy competition and we all help each other,” he added while mixing up a mouthwatering side dish of cheesy hash browns. “It gives us an excuse to just get together and cook. We’re here for fun.”

Moore and his friends weren’t the only ones enjoying the county fair’s culinary competition.

“It’s just fun,” stated Nikki Lowns, an Elizabeth resident and a primary organizer of this year’s event after Touchstone Energy dropped its sponsorship last year. Lowns teamed up in the contest with her husband Brian, taking home second place overall from the trio of local judges, but the best part of her day was getting together with the seven other teams. “Everybody knows everybody,” she said of the good-natured banter between entrants while they presented their dishes to a trio of judges. “So many of them out here, especially, have grown up together; so it’s just all family. We all trash talk each other (and) we all visit each other all day,” she continued with a smile. “It’s like a family reunion.”

Just like every family reunion, the more guests that arrive, the better the celebration tends to be. Elbert County Fair organizers enjoyed seeing the community come out and play throughout its nine-day run, as well as viewing all the hard work put in by 4-H’ers who epitomize what a county fair is all about.

“The 4-H members work hard all year and the fair is like the icing on the cake for their projects,” said Sheila Kelley, 4-H Extension Agent/Interim Director for Elbert County. “We had almost 400 members participate in fair activities this year, which includes livestock and general projects. When you look at the creativity and responsibility these youth have invested in their animals and exhibits, it shows what a wealth (of) talent we have here in Elbert County.”

Regarding the fair itself, Kelley had upbeat things to say.

“Overall, everything went quite smoothly this year,” she shared. “There were no major hurdles to get over (and) it was a good time for everyone involved, as far as I can tell.”

Judging by the general public’s positive response to the Cowboy Up in Kiowa Rodeo and the Dutch Oven Cook-Off competition, to name just a few events on the full calendar, the Elbert County Fair had plenty of good times to go around.