County fair starts Aug. 11

Officials hope new indoor arena will be up next year

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— A look into the near future will be a prominent theme as the 87th annual Routt County Fair and Rodeo gets under way at its home in Hayden.

The theme for this year's event is "New Beginnings for Old Traditions."

The Routt County Fair Board came up with the theme for this year's fair as it works on securing funds for a $500,000 indoor arena for the fairgrounds.

"The fair board and the county are very committed on making this building happen," said Terry Doherty, administrative assistant to the Routt County Fair Board. "We are hoping one year from now, we will get it done."

So far, about $135,000 has been raised for the building. Officials are hoping to receive $50,000 from local 4-H clubs, which are conducting fund-raisers.

Officials also are planning to apply for a state energy impact grant to help pay for the building.

Until the building is in place, fair organizers are intent on tying in the future building with established traditions of the fair that will continue this year.

The first fair event scheduled is on Saturday at Hayden High School.

Members from 10 4-H Clubs will be competing at the exhibit/demonstration competition and fashion show.

The fair will get into full swing the morning of Aug. 11 and come to a close the evening of Aug. 19.

Scattered among the nine days will be new events, the traditional livestock showings and musical entertainment.

"The entertainers we have coming are top rate," Doherty said.

Waddie Mitchell will perform Aug. 16, Eric Heatherly, Aug. 17, and local favorite Led Stetson will perform at the Hoe Down dance Aug. 18.

New to this year's fair is an ice cream social at 8 p.m. Aug. 15. The social will celebrate the work done to secure funds for the indoor arena.

Tractor pulls sponsored by the Yampa Valley Antique Tractors also will be new to the fair.

Changes in store for the fair will be an absence of a carnival and a change in the rodeo.

Because of the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series, which is held every weekend in Steamboat, fair organizers have decided to change the rodeo.

A junior rodeo, which will feature barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, calf roping and bareback and bull riding, is set for 11 a.m. Aug. 18.

A ranch rodeo, which will feature cowboy luge, goat milking, team branding and egg relay dash for cash, is set for 1:15 p.m. Aug. 19.

"The two rodeos are more on the local level," Doherty said. "This makes it more of a family event."

Two longtime county residents who passed away will be remembered during the fair.

Robert N. "Bobby" Robinson Sr. and Helen Sherrod will be honored.

The annual 4-H barbecue, which is from 4 to 6 p.m. Aug. 18, has been named after Robinson.

"He was a huge part of the community and 4-H," Doherty said.

Robinson was part of the

barbecue for 73 years before retiring in 1990.

Sherrod, who was active in 4-H for about 45 years, will have a scholarship named after her and a new award, which will be presented at this year's fair.

Also a new award to the outstanding youth or adult in the Home Arts Division will be named after Sherrod.

"Helen always came away with boxes of ribbons after each fair," said Debbie Alpe, a county 4-H agent.

Fair officials started organizing this year's fair last September with the majority of the work done in the past six months.

Doherty started working with the fair board in February.

"The time has gone really fast," Doherty said. "A lot of work has gone into this year's fair.

"I have been impressed with the relationship the county, fair board and the extension office have in organizing the fair."

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