Dick Williams races his horse Sunday at the Routt County Fairgrounds in Hayden during the closing day of the Routt County Fair.

Photo by Scott Franz

Dick Williams races his horse Sunday at the Routt County Fairgrounds in Hayden during the closing day of the Routt County Fair.

Routt County Fair comes to thrilling conclusion

Final day of fair filled with horse races, bull riding and impromptu sheep herding

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— Sheep herding wasn't on the schedule.

But when a feisty flock of the livestock escaped from the mutton bustin' arena Sunday at the Routt County Fairgrounds in Hayden, several cowgirls, cowboys and a few brave volunteers moved quickly to round up about 30 of the agile escapees.

“I wasn't expecting this,” Rob Struble said after he carried one of the sheep back to the pen in front of the grandstands. “It's a little frustrating because the sheep never do quite what you want them to.”

The closing day of the Routt County Fair in Hayden was exciting before and after the sheep earned their 15-minute break from being ridden by children.

There was horse racing. There was the “pretty baby” contest. The Rocky Mountain Bronc Riders Association held its Ranch Bronc Competition Finals. And several children, cowgirls and cowboys spent a few hours riding bulls, broncs and steers.

This year's fair also was one for the record books.

South Routt resident Linda Long said the home arts contest attracted 1,423 entries to the Exhibit Hall this year. She said the contest hasn't seen that level of participation since the 1990s.

Everything from quilts to leatherwork was on display through Sunday afternoon.

“As always, fair was a time when everyone got together without incident and celebrated a lot of hard work,” Routt County Extension Office Director Karen Massey said. “I think everyone always walks away from here feeling good about themselves and the county. It was a good, good week.”

Fair coordinator Jill Delay added that the enthusiasm this year wasn't limited to the Exhibit Hall.

She said the demolition derby Friday night filled the grandstands to capacity, and several of the closing day events Sunday had full rosters, as well.

“It's just been a huge success,” Delay said. “Overall, I would say it's all been good.”

Keenan Hayes had a similar reaction as he sat on the bucking shoots. He sold a pig earlier in the fair and capped off Sunday riding rough stock in the arena.

“Pretty much everything I wanted to happen happened at this fair,” Hayes said before he rode a steer in front of a large audience in the grandstands. “It's a lot of fun."

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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