Few things in Northwest Colorado are as constant as the Routt County Fair and Rodeo.
But 90 years of fairs doesn't mean organizers are content to stick with the status quo.
Case in point: This year's fair features a variety of new events and entertainment particularly geared toward children, families and Routt County heritage.
"You have to keep reinventing yourself to get people to continue to come," fair coordinator Terry Doherty said. "We're always trying to find new things to keep people here."
Two of the new events are featured today. Cattle dog trials, sponsored by SpringSips, begin at 8 a.m. at the Routt County Fairgrounds. The open event pits handlers, their dogs and cattle against an obstacle course. Points are awarded for completing each obstacle, and a time limit will keep the pressure on competitors. Cattle dog trial divisions include novice rancher for first-time competitors, intermediate rancher, open rancher and open.
Sticking with the canine theme, the fair introduces its Doggy Days events at 2 p.m. Sponsored by Jacque's Hair Salon, Full Belly Deli, Moon Shots and Plants 'N Things, Doggy Days encourages all area dog owners to join their pets at the demonstration area for a tricks competition, an owner-dog look-alike contest and a dog obedience race. There are no entry fees to participate, and participants may sign up for the competition up to 20 minutes before it begins. Other dog-related events include paw readings and free canine caricatures.
Abbie the Clown is also new to this year's fair. The Denver-based entertainer is scheduled to host several clown workshops -- think animal balloons -- as well as provide walk-around entertainment for children and families.
Ventriloquist Wayne Francis, also of Denver, will emcee Wednesday's local talent show and ice cream social.
"He'll make the ice cream social a hit even if we don't have any local (talent) entries," Doherty said.
Fair Board member Peter Daley is particularly excited about Thursday's open gymkhana, a new event for the fair.
"I think we'll have a huge crowd," Daley said. "It's a really popular event."
New events such as the cattle dog trials and working ranch horse competition are especially relevant to the history of the area, Daley said.
"We're putting in more community events to reflect the heritage of our county," he said. "We want to have events the community can enjoy."
Appealing to the community also means appealing to its children.
The return of the carnival to the fair will be exciting for children who often don't get to ride Ferris wheels, merry-go-rounds and roller coasters.
"In the past, there haven't been a lot of events going on that draw the kids that aren't involved with the fair," Daley said. "I think the carnival really completes the fair. There's a little something for everybody."
The carnival begins Wednesday afternoon and continues through Sunday.
Other new events and entertainment include Scott Bussen, a walk-around musician and entertainer, Hayden's 3-Wire Band and the Routt County Cattlewomen's catch-a-calf contest.
For more fair information, call 276-3068.