Elbert County unites to celebrate annual fair | TheFencePost.com

Elbert County unites to celebrate annual fair

Story and Photos Robyn Scherer, M.Agr.
Kiowa, Colo.

Located in the small town of Kiowa, , Colo., the Elbert County Fair is one of the highlights of the year for area 4-H members, parents, farmers and ranchers.

The fair celebrates the heritage of the area, and showcases youth projects from around the county.

The fair kicked off on July 27 with the shooting sports, dog competitions and the youth rodeo.

For the next several days, youth competed in breeding livestock shows, market shows, showmanship and horse events.

On Aug. 1, there was the Elbert/Douglas County Livestock Association Bred Heifer Project show. The purpose of this project is to help Elbert/Douglas County 4-Hers to begin or increase a beef herd, according to the fair premium book.

To qualify for this project, the 4-Her must submit a letter and budget to EDCLA. The participants will be selected and announced at fair during Awards Night.

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The livestock association cosigns a bank note (valued up to $400.00) towards the purchase of a bred heifer.

That heifer is then displayed with her calf at the fair as a pair.

They are not groomed or shown in a halter, but as a true life representation of beef production.

The EDCLA also sponsors the catch-a-calf program, which are market steers that are shown at the fair.

Aug. 2 marked the second annual Big Time Bucking Horse Futurity, in which top saddle bronc riders get on the young, up-and-coming bucking horses, provided by some of the best stock contractors in the business.

The riders competed for more than $7,500 in prize money, and the stock contractors competed for prizes as well.

The biggest day for the fair was August 3, which is when the Junior Market Sale, Round Robin Showmanship contest and antique tractor pull were held, as well as the 4-H awards night.

The Junior Market Livestock sale featured the best of the best, and area farmers, ranchers and businessmen supported the youth in the county.

The grand and reserve grand champions including lambs, swine, beef, poultry, goats and meat rabbits sold for a combined total of more than $32,000.

The sale auctioned off an additional 135 animals for thousands more.

"The young people that you will see participating in the Elbert County Junior Market Sale have invested their time, talents, and substantial money in the care and feeding of this premium stock. In completing their projects, they have worked hard to make the best better," the premium book states.

It continues, "by bidding on the animals, you are encouraging these leaders of tomorrow that old fashioned hard work and pride of accomplishment are values that you recognize as being important."

The antique tractor pull featured local tractors, models from the year 1952 or older that pulled a sled.

Tractor models include John Deere, Farmall, Ford and Oliver, just to name a few.

The tractors are divided both by weight and model year for the different classes, and pull a sled that is designed for tractor pulling, in which more weight is added the farther the tractor pulls the sled.

The event was sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Tractor Pullers Association, which is a made up of private antique tractor owners who enjoy putting on Pulling Contests at local county fairs and town celebrations.

The final day of the fair was Aug. 4, which featured a pancake breakfast, the ranch rodeo, the High Plains Fiddlin' and Pick' Fest and the parade.

The 2013 ECF Parade Marshals was the Kiowa Lions Club.

The Kiowa Lions Club was founded three years after the end of World War II, in March of 1947.

They were formed by ranchers, farmers, town merchants and residents of the Kiowa area.

The common goal was to help those less fortunate than themselves. The main theme of Lions International and Kiowa Lions is "We Serve."

Through the years the Kiowa Lions Club has done just that, reaching out and serving the Kiowa and Elbert communities in many ways, either with a helping hand or with money.

Financial help ranges from helping needy people with eye exams and glasses, helping extracurricular groups, to donating money to 4-H groups, like the Elbert County Livestock Judging Team so they could compete at the international level.

Many years ago, the Kiowa Lions Club was instrumental in obtaining the land for the Elbert County Fairgrounds.

The royalty for the fair this year included Ashley Baller, 2013 Elbert County Fair Queen. She is a junior at Ponderosa High School, and is 16. In addition to 4-H, she's involved in DECA and FBLA.

She is a member of the Sun Country 4­-H club in which she is the youth council representative and also holds the position of secretary on youth council.

Her projects include the horse project, working ranch horse, and horse judging.

She also competes in shooting sports.

"Thank you to every single one of our sponsors for supporting us, because you are essential for a functioning royalty program. I am so happy that there are generous people out there who are willing to help young ladies like Ashley and I represent the Elbert County Fair to the best of our ability," Baller said.

The Elbert County Princess was Ashley Gerczynski, an Elbert County native.

She is in her third year in 4-H, and her projects include horse judging, horse, vet science and shooting sports. She is 12 years old and sixth grader at Elizabeth Middle School.

The fair is put on through Elbert County Extension-Colorado State University, and a variety of volunteers.

The Elbert County Fair Board consists of Chairman-Dan Carpenter, Kiowa, Co-Chairman-Ben Duke, Elizabeth, Secretary-Amy Fordyce, Kiowa and Treasurer-Ric Miller, Kiowa.

Elbert county has more than 400 students involved in the 4-H program, and the Elbert County Fair is the highlight of the year. ❖