Steamboat Springs When someone passes away who is close to many people in a community, that absence is noticed in many places and rarely forgotten.
When Extension Agent Deb Alpe went through the number of entries in the home arts section at the Routt County Fair last week, she noticed the entries were down in some categories. Then she remembered the absence of Helen Sherrod, who passed away earlier this year.
Sherrod was known for entering multiple items into the home arts competitions, including canned goods, photography and her coveted flowers.
"She always brought lots of beautiful flowers," Alpe said.
Sherrod also received a wheelbarrow full of blue ribbons each year. However, the awards never left the fairgrounds.
"She never took them home. She always just donated them back to the fair," Alpe said.
To honor, remember and celebrate Sherrod and her contributions to the fair, the Helen Sherrod Outstanding Home Artist Award was handed out for the first time on Sunday, the final day of the 2001 Routt County Fair.
The award goes to the person who receives the most blue and champion ribbons in the fair.
Margie Arbogast with her 27 exhibits in canned goods, crops, photography and baked goods received the award.
"I'm thrilled," Arbogast said.
She admitted it was a lot of work but said it's worth being a large contributor.
"It's a real pleasure to meet the backbone of the Routt County community," she said.
As the fair wrapped up Saturday and Sunday, that backbone showed it was willing to support the 4-H element of the fair.
Extension Agent C.J. Mucklow said Saturday's livestock sale was worth $204,400, breaking last year's record-setting figure by $40,000 and becoming the most successful fair livestock sale ever.
Plus, buyers consistently paid over market value for the animals, Mucklow said. Janey Montieth's 1,260-pound grand champion steer, for example, brought in $4,750. It's buyback price was about $857.
"The support for 4-H is outstanding in the community," Mucklow said.
In addition to the livestock sale, community members forked over $55,000 for the Dodge Dakota Sport raffle to raise money for a new building at the fairgrounds.
Roger Perricone was the lucky winner of the truck and Suzy Hawkins won the second-prize trip to Las Vegas.
Also, a healthy crowd came out to participate in Sunday's fair events, which included the blind man's tractor contest, the slowest tractor contest and the popular ranch rodeo.
"I thought it was outstanding," Routt County Fair Board Treasurer Brita Horn said. "There were a lot of local people and there wasn't a drop of rain."
Though support was good for the day's events, Horn said the Waddie Mitchell and Eric Heatherly performances weren't as well attended as hoped.