Jackson County Fair
In early September in a tiny mountain town, most of the 594 residents of Walden, Colo., drive up the hill north of town and participate or are spectators of the Jackson County Fair. Four days of showing, food, and fun are experienced here and are looked forward to each year.
The fair is held the second weekend of September, starting on Thursday with the Horse Show and ending Sunday with kids games. School is canceled for the children on Thursday so they can be at the fairgrounds preparing their animals. Those who don’t participate, though few and far between, are usually there helping their friends or just enjoying the atmosphere.
The North Park Cattlewomen sponsors the Home Economics portion of the fair. Food, quilts, paintings, photos, etc., are accepted by all ages on Wednesday night or Thursday morning to be judged and displayed Friday. Each year the Home Economics Division features a fair $100 challenge, with $50 for the youth division. The project had to be made with recycled items this year. There were a lot of entries but the winner of both the Judge’s Choice and the Cattlewomen Challenge was Windy Allnut. She made a beautiful quilt out of used ranch shirts. The shirts belonged to Dave Meyring who passed away in 2009. It was made with love for his widow, Kay Meyring.
Along with livestock shows and home economics entries, there are horse and dog shows and the 4-H Round Robin competition. Each Showmanship grand champion from each livestock division competes for an “Overall Showmanship Grand Champion.” They have to show their champion animal then switch with each competitor to prove their showmanship skills, even with animals they have never shown before.
There is a barbecue dinner on Saturday night followed by the livestock sale. George Crocket and Jim Murphy start smoking lamb, pork, and beef on Thursday; by Saturday, it melts in your mouth. The employees of the local branch of Mountain Valley Bank as well as the 4-H and FFA members help serve the three-course meal to the residents of Walden.
The Fair Dedication is made before the auction, and this year the dedication went to Gordon Brocker, Tootie Brocker Crowner, and Mike and Charlene Geer. Together they contributed to the way the fair is run today. From helping build the first barns on the fairgrounds, to helping children with their livestock projects. If it were not for their commitment to the Jackson County Fair, it probably would still only be two days long without places to house animals.
The grand champion steer, won by Clay Russell, was presented first, followed by Jake Wintermote with the reserve champion. Dalton Edmonds won the North Park born and raised beef and was presented with a $500 scholarship. The original rancher/producer was presented with a beautiful belt buckle and the buyer banner before the steer was up for sale. Fourteen other participants sold their steers that night.
There were six participants who showed rabbits this year with Ashleigh White winning grand champion with her pen of three. Christina Pantle was reserve champion this year with her market rabbits. Both girls as well as the other four participants in rabbits have been involved in 4-H for several years.
Blake Russell’s lambs won both grand champion and reserve grand champion this year. Kyan Jenkins won the North Park born and raised lamb prize. There were a total of nine lambs shown and sold this year.
Grand champion goat went to Bryce Russell with Shelbi McAlister taking reserve champion. With eight competitors, they had their work cut out for them.
One of the most popular livestock groups, besides beef, is swine. We had a total of 20 participants in this group. Grand champion market swine/champion heavyweight went to Codi Baller. Darcy Edmonds took reserve champion market swine/champion heavyweight. Champion lightweight went to Alex Telck and reserve went
to Shelbi McAllister. Bryce Russell won middleweight market swine and Kaine Brown got reserve heavyweight market swine.
Sunday was filled with shipping livestock, cleaning barns and the Crossroads Horse Ministry. That morning there was also kid’s games for the smaller children who aren’t of age to show animals, and even for those who are!
Shooting doesn’t always mix with livestock animals, so the 4-H Shooting Sports are held two weeks prior to the actual fair – 23 kids participated in archery, .22 rifle, and shotgun competitions. Following the 4-H members was an adult shoot.
This year’s fair was huge a success not only due to the dedication that the children take with their animals, but to those on the Fair Board who help organize such a wonderful event. President Clinton Russell was present everyday. Secretary/Treasurer, Michelle Shuler, takes a huge portion of her time to help make this fair successful. Dusty Hackett is the adviser with Cary Lewis, Mike Telck, Deb Heeney, Reb Brown, BJ Jordan, and Brian Anderson as members. Deb Alpe is our local extension agent and works year round to make sure our fair is a success.
Congratulations to all participants! Look forward to seeing you all next year!