Horses whinnied as their owners walked them out of their trailers. The loudspeakers sounded, officially welcoming everyone to the 89th annual Routt County Fair.
The fair's open horse show, which began at 9 a.m. Saturday, drew in horse breeders and riders from across Colorado. Events included Western riding, multiple types of races and basic showmanship.
Francine Acord drove from Kremmling to the fair to show her paint horses. Acord originally is from Yampa, so she said the fair was like a homecoming for her. One of her horses, a 1-year-old colt named Hero, was a favorite among passers-by as he took advantage of the cool morning with a nap, lying on his side.
Jeannie Logan didn't drive as far. She drove her six quarter horses and two children from Steamboat Springs for halter competitions at her third Routt County Fair.
"It's fun and friendly competition, and it's completely healthy," Logan said. "We're keeping the breed alive. It's nice bringing everybody together."
Chris Johnson and David Hellyer of Hayden were just a trot away. Johnson was returning to competition for the first time in 16 years. She said she was returning to show her 3-year-old son what goes on at the fair so he can decide for himself if he wants to follow in her footsteps.
Pat Culver, also of Hayden, showed off her beautiful black stallion, Teyert, in the 4-year and older stallions division. Teyert tried to show who was boss when he stepped into another horses space and reared.
Tragically, a halter horse died Saturday in a freak accident at the fair. A mare owned by Jim Remick of Steamboat reared and fell backward as she was being led into the arena. The blow from the ground crushed her skull, said Routt County Sheriff's Office Deputy Kurtis Luster, and the horse bled to death. No people were hurt.
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