Weld County Fair names Clair Orr ‘Friend of the Fair’ for contributions to agriculture, youth in ag
Clair Orr’s den, or haven as his wife Deb calls it, is filled with books. Gold-filigreed spines from antique anthologies shine from packed shelves. One shelf is full of photo albums with his three daughters’ names written in permanent marker on the bindings.
Small statues of historical figures sit in front of the books or on rare empty shelf space. Abraham Lincoln is in the entryway. A brass bust of Teddy Roosevelt is up by the ceiling, near the window. There’s a small replica of “The Last Supper” in the corner.
The things in the den sum up Orr’s values. He was patriotic. He loved his family. He believed in learning, in working hard and in God above all else.
Orr died of cancer in June 2015. He spent his life farming and ranching. He served on many boards and committees, including the Weld County Fair Board, the Weld County Council, the Colorado State Board of Education, National Western Stock Show Board of Directors and Weld County Livestock Association Board.
This year, he’s being recognized as the Weld County Fair’s Friend of the Fair for his contributions to Weld County’s agriculture.
Deb said her husband always thought about the best ways to help young people grow and learn. He wanted to pass on several important values, like patriotism and caring for one another. She said he always told her, “The only thing we leave in this world is the next generation.”
So he campaigned for kids, Deb said. He made sure they were learning what they needed to at the fair, and sat on the sale board, helping to draw as many people to the livestock sales as possible so kids could see big returns on their investments. When he worked with National Western, he rallied against having professional fitters come help kids get their cattle ready for show. He wants kids to learn how to do it themselves.
That’s something he worked to instill in his own kids, who followed in his footsteps to be 10-year 4-Hers. Katie Egbert, the youngest of the girls, now has two sons of her own and a daughter on the way. Egbert’s oldest is four years old and will get his first bucket calf this year.
Egbert remembers her father always pushed her and her sisters to be the best they could and to be independent. Before they could get their drivers’ licenses, they had to change a tire. Before they went on their first date, they had to go on a “date” with him so he could show them how a gentleman behaves. The girls had to work hard and do things for themselves, but Orr would always be there to show them how. When Egbert was a little girl, he helped her clip her first calf, shaving a “K” into its furry brown side.
Orr also led by example when it came to faith. He didn’t shove beliefs at them, but instead, the girls would find him sitting in his den reading his Bible.
Orr founded Cattlemen for Christ, an organization that helped start church services at ag events like the Weld County Fair. He saw a need for the families that spent their weekends at these fairs to be able to go to church even when they weren’t home, or as Egbert put it, have a Sunday service in bleachers with the smell of cows all around.
Though Orr got to see all three of his girls go through 4-H, none of his soon-to-be eight grandkids were old enough for bucket calves before he died. He did get to see one of the little ones lead a bull through a barn by a harness, though, which Deb said he thought was pretty special.
“Old 4-Hers never die,” she said. “They just have kids.” ❖
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