Steamboat Springs Taping stall cards to livestock pens and sweeping barn floors at the Routt County Fairgrounds on Thursday, 4-H agent Cassidy Kurtz was getting used to her new job. The baa-ing of sheep and the buzzing of clippers that echoed inside the barn’s steel walls marked the slow and humble beginning of the 96th annual Routt County Fair.
“I’m looking forward to surviving my first one as an agent,” Kurtz said Wednesday as she made the final preparations for the fair from her office in Steamboat Springs.
As the newest 4-H agent for the Routt County Extension Office, Kurtz admitted that she is learning the ropes during the office’s busiest week of the year.
“I’m busy, and I’m overwhelmed, but in a good way,” she said. “We’ve got to make sure the sponsors and ribbons are in order, the judges will be there, and all of the entries are finalized.”
Kurtz grew up on a ranch north of Steamboat and was a member the Routt County 4-H program for more than 10 years. After obtaining undergraduate degrees in Animal Science and Agricultural Business at Colorado State University in 2006, she went on to get her master’s degree in Equine Exercise Physiology from Texas A&M University last year.
Today, she is helping develop new
4-H programs for local youths.
“I know what a positive impact the program had on me when I was growing up, and I would like to share that with local kids and bring my experience back to the program,” she said.
Kurtz hopes to increase local participation in 4-H youth clubs such as the Town Kids program, which allows children who don’t live on ranches the opportunity to raise livestock for the county fair elsewhere.
Extension Agent CJ Mucklow was busy preparing the fairgrounds alongside Kurtz for the events, which started Friday with the first horse shows. He said he was impressed by how well she was handling her first week on the job.
“To have a young person working here that has such a good, fresh attitude for the fair is wonderful,” Mucklow said. “She has big shoes to fill, but she’s doing a great job.”
Kurtz replaced Jay Whaley, who was a 4-H agent in the county for 12 years. Whaley left the position to become an agriculture teacher at Soroco High School.