Hayden The first Routt County Fair and Rodeo was held in 1914. Now, organizers are busy preparing for the 90th installment of the event, which runs Aug. 9-17 at the fairgrounds in Hayden.
"It's a wonderful celebration of the heritage of this valley," said Terry Doherty, Routt County Fair coordinator.
This year's event, dubbed "Fair Days and Fun Nights," will incorporate a wide variety of old traditions and new events.
Returning highlights include the fair queen contest; the Colorado Professional Rodeo Association rodeo; the catch-a-bunny contest and the cowboy luge. Another returning favorite is the Ranch Rodeo.
"The Ranch Rodeo is an all-time favorite," Doherty said.
The Ranch Rodeo is composed of local teams, rather than professional riders, vying for a title.
Another fair highlight is the arts, crafts and food competition. Those exhibits showcase everything from needlework to flowers and pies to vegetables. They will go on display Aug. 13.
There were more than 1,500 exhibits last year, Doherty said.
New events include pedal tractor races for children, a local talent show and the dancing High Country Cloggers.
Mutton bustin' will feature children ages 3 to 8 riding sheep, competing to see who can hang on longest. In the greased pig contest, competitors will try to catch a greased pig. The winner gets the pig.
Chute Nine, a band from Denver, will provide music at the Hoe Down Dance. The Yampa Valley Boys will perform throughout most of the fair.
The fair remains a major attraction, drawing both Routt County residents and visitors.
"We usually have more than 7,000 people over a weeklong period," said Doherty. "We see people from all over."
Because the fair does not charge a gate fee, there is no way to get an exact count of attendance, she said.
The fair requires an enormous amount of organization, resulting in several groups splitting the labor.
The Routt County 4-H will be in charge of the livestock shows and sales. This year, the shows will be held in the late afternoons and evenings to allow more people to attend, Doherty said.
The Routt County Fair Board will be responsible for the exhibits created by local residents. The board also meets year-round in order to plan the fair.