Routt County Fair opens for 104th year Friday | SteamboatToday.com

Routt County Fair opens for 104th year Friday

Peyton Parker, 8, plays with her goat before the start of the Dress Your Animal Contest at the 2017 Routt County Fair.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Amidst the noise of cars smashing into one another at the annual demolition derby and the dust that fills the air at the bull riding competition, fair-goers should be on the look out for Routt County Fair manager Jill Delay’s favorite event.

"I love the dress your animal contest," Delay said. "It's one of those hidden gems in my opinion."

The contest where participants dress their animals in costumes has a special place in Delay’s heart. She likes it because it allows contestants of all ages to show off a little bit of their personality and to be rewarded for their creativity.

"They write a narrative to go with what they have done," Delay said. "The announcer reads their story as the person and animal walks through the arena. I have seen some amazing things over the years. Some tug at your heart strings, including one that was a tribute to a POW. I’ve seen some participants that are pulling chickens in a wagon and there was one where a rabbit jumped out of some little 3-year-old's arms and ran around. It's just fun."

Delay said she also loves all of the fair’s marquee events like the Hill Petroleum Demolition Derby, the Jake Booco Invitational Bull Riding event and the junior livestock sale. According to Delay, who has been the fair manager for 13 years and worked at the Routt County Extension office before that, the final four days of the week-long fair, which begins Friday night at the fairgrounds in Hayden, feature most of the big events.

"We have so much going on that we can't possibly fit it all in four days," Delay said. "So we just kind of ramp up slowly."

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She said the attraction of the fair depends a lot on each spectator’s personal interests. She encourages people to come to the fair to see the 4-H animals and attend one of the livestock shows.

"You need to walk through the barn and see all the animals," Delay said. "The bull riding and the derby are the two ticketed events, and they are just crazy fun."

This year additional seating has been added, and there are 1,000 tickets available for the bull riding and the demolition derby. However, she said those who want to experience those events should not wait until the last minute as the derby normally sells out.

Tickets for the bull riding and derby are $15 for ages 10 and older and $10 for children 4 to 9. Children under 3 are free as long as they are sitting on a lap. The fair is also offering a combination ticket that is $25 for both events, and the ticket also gets spectators into the beer garden, which is new this year.

Other changes this year include the addition of a themed car contest, a heavy hitters class and a pig wrestling event that will fill the gaps between heats at the derby.

The bull riding event will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16, and the demolition derby will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17.

Delay said the exhibition hall will be open all week, but the best time to view the home arts displays will be after 8 a.m. Friday, Aug. 17.

The junior livestock show and annual Bobby Robinson Sr. Barbecue will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18

A full schedule for the fair can be found here.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.