Three-year-old Sam Mosciaro, of Hayden, right, and Kodiak Byron, 2, also of Hayden, try to charm the judges during the cutest dimples contest Sunday at the Routt County Fair's Pretty Baby Contest.

Photo by Jack Weinstein

Three-year-old Sam Mosciaro, of Hayden, right, and Kodiak Byron, 2, also of Hayden, try to charm the judges during the cutest dimples contest Sunday at the Routt County Fair's Pretty Baby Contest.

Babies strive to be the prettiest

Contest kicks off festivities on final day of Routt County Fair

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Livestock auction gross sales down

Gross sales from this year's junior livestock auction were down from last year despite selling 32 more animals, said Routt County 4-H Extension Agent Jay Whaley.

He said the total was $191,334, which was down from $250,422 a year ago.

Whaley said this year was only the second in the past 11 in which gross sales didn't exceed the previous year.

"It's pretty reflective of what's going on right now (with the economy)," he said.

Despite the average price for livestock decreasing this year - steers were down to $2,218 from more than $3,500 last year, and pigs were down to $1,024 from more than $1,300 last year - producers, the 4-H members, still were making a reasonable profit. For instance, a steer is sold to a producer for between $800 and $1,100, Whaley said.

He added that $2,834 from the sale would be put into the Pud Stetson Memorial Fund, a scholarship fund for 4-H members.

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From right, Routt County commissioners Nancy Stahoviak, Doug Monger and Diane Mitsch Bush, along with Hayden Mayor Lorraine Johnson, Oak Creek Town Board member Dave Fisher and Yampa Mayor Bruce Pitts, judge the cookie and brownie contest Sunday at the county fair.

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Kara Sidwell, 3, smiles in the arms of her mother, Kaycee Sidwell, of Yampa, on Sunday during the Pretty Baby Contest at the Routt County Fair.

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Lane Iacovetto, of Steamboat Springs, holds her 3-year-old daughter, Makayla, on Sunday during the Pretty Baby Contest.

— Being a judge in Sunday's Pretty Baby Contest at the 95th Routt County Fair isn't an enviable position for most people.

In fact, contest superintendent Tena Frentress joked that doing the job made its judges the least popular people in the county, noting the possibility of upsetting some parents.

"I was kind of nervous," admitted judge Lanette Laman, 16, of Oak Creek. "It's hard because all the babies are cute. It was a lot of fun, but some of the decisions were really hard."

Laman was one of three judges asked to participate from the South Routt chapters of the National FFA Organization and 4-H to fill in for the fair's royalty, which was unable to attend the contest.

Despite the perceived cutthroat nature of the Pretty Baby Contest, parents seemed to take a light-hearted approach to it, but there was one undeniable fact: They all wanted to show off their children Sunday morning at the fairground's Exhibition Hall in Hayden.

Winners in each division were awarded savings bonds, which were donated by Wells Fargo and Mountain Valley Bank. And each baby, as old as age 3, was awarded a ribbon for participation.

Divisions included most photogenic, best hair, brightest eyes, best waddle, cutest dimples, chubbiest feet, best hat, best laugh, best cowboy and cowgirl, future rodeo royalty and even best temper tantrum.

Lane Iacovetto, of Steamboat Springs, said her husband, Jarad, was competing in the Ranch Rodeo in the afternoon so they decided to bring their daughters, Kiley, 1, and Makayla, 3, to the Pretty Baby Contest. She said it was their first time competing.

"It's fun," Lane Iacovetto said. "I think it's great they give away savings bonds. And it's something the kids will always have fun doing."

Cindy Mosciaro, of Hayden, brought her 17-month-old daughter, Ella and 3-year-old son, Sam, to compete. Mosciaro said it was their second year. Like Iacovetta, Mosciaro also cited the importance of the savings bonds and said they would be put toward her children's college funds.

Hayden resident Alena Velasquez's 13-month-old daughter, Grace, was awarded for having the chubbiest feet. Velasquez said after their first Pretty Baby Contest, they'll likely return while her daughter is young enough to compete.

"It was fun, very fun," she said. "We'll do it another year, for sure. We'll be here another couple years."

Tough duty for judges

The Pretty Baby Contest immediately was followed by the brownie and cookie contest, judged by county commissioners and mayors from county towns.

Judges included Routt County commissioners Nancy Stahoviak, Doug Monger and Diane Mitsch Bush, in addition to Hayden Mayor Lorraine Johnson, Oak Creek Town Board member Dave Fisher and Yampa Mayor Bruce Pitts. They were forced to taste four different brownies and seven varieties of cookies, a job most joked was the toughest at the fair.

But in the end, cherry walnut brownies baked by Charlie Epp, who runs C's Catering in Hayden, were named grand champion.

"I make these brownies all the time," said Epp, who won for the first time in his fourth year entering them in a home arts competition at the fair. "I get a lot of requests for them."

Dave Fisher represented Oak Creek in judging the contest for the second year in a row, and he said he enjoyed it. A home arts entrant himself, Fisher lauded the importance of the fair, calling it a "fun, important and unique event."

"It brings people from all over the county," he said about those entering and those just coming to see the fruits of someone else's labor. "It builds community. That to me is the most important thing - the most important aspect."

Mitsch Bush said the 1,329 home arts entries - the second most, after 1,370 in 2006 - was evidence of the fair's importance.

"This is Routt County," she said, standing inside Exhibition Hall, her hands raised in the air. "There are so many talented people in this county."

Stahoviak said in addition to bringing people together from across the county, the fair served another important purpose.

"It's important to citizens and necessary to the good of the county," she said. "It gives to our citizens a longtime aspect of Routt County. We don't want to lose that."

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