Grand County youths prepare for Middle Park Fair and Rodeo |

Grand County youths prepare for Middle Park Fair and Rodeo



Bailey Palmer has spent most of her summer taking care of the pigs and steer she will show at the 92nd annual Middle Park Fair and Rodeo in August.

Palmer, 13, plans to show two pigs and a steer. The steer is a little over 1 year old and weighs 1,170 pounds.

“I get really competitive and excited and meet new people,” Palmer said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

She is also getting used to how the system works.

“I get pretty attached to them but that’s just the whole process,” Palmer said about parting with the animals she raises for the fair. “I like the experiences. It’s a lot of fun and I know it’s really sad … The next round of pigs will be fun.”

She said she gets the animals when they are about 3 months old. Her older sister, who will be a junior in college, also helps her with the steer when she’s home.

Palmer takes care of the pigs, and a man from Granby also helps her.

“My family’s more of the steer people,” she said.

She has five pigs. She said her family usually sells one pig at the fair, and then sees if anyone else wants to buy one too. “We kind of sell all of them every year,” Palmer added.

She has two male pigs: Fleck and Flapshot. The females are Slick, Murphy and Porketta. Her steer’s name is Bart.

“I was basically born into it,” she said about how she became involved.

A family friend from Illinois got her interested in raising pigs, she said.

In addition, she cleans her animals’ pens twice a day, feeds them twice a day and gives them water.

“I usually walk them a lot so they stay in shape,” she said, adding that it helps get them ready for the show.

She also walks and cleans Bart to get him used to being around people. She estimates that she has spent about three-fourth of her time this summer with the animals.

She has entered pigs in the last four fairs. The first two years she was the Reserve Grand Champion, and the past two year’s she been the Grand Champion.

‘I don’t name my food’

Nick Ritschard will compete in the fair for his fifth year. He will show two steers and his brother will show one. They have been raising the livestock since last October.

They have six pigs and three steers. “I don’t name my food,” Ritschard joked.

He also is getting used to how the livestock system works.

“Last year it was kind of hard because the steers could pretty much go in our house,” he said, adding that his sister gets attached to their pets. “It’s going to be hard for her. I’m fine with it. I don’t really care.”

Bsides, steer feed costs are increasing, Ritschard said.

“I want to get some money out of them.”

His 1,300-pound steer sold for $4 per pound last year, while his brother Tim’s steer was the champion and sold for $5.50 per pound.

“It was a tremendous sale last year,” his father Mike Ritschard said.

More than 150 Grand County youngsters will participate in the 4-H events at the Middle Park Fairgrounds in Kremmling Aug 4-10. Parents, leaders and family members, will also add to the crowd, said Brenda Kwang, Grand County Extension director. She said about 1,500 people are expected to attend the demolition derby.

Between the concert, rodeo, livestock shows and sale she estimates there could be 3,000 to 4,000 people.

Fair and Rodeo increases activities

The Middle Park Fair and Rodeo is “bigger and better than ever” with more youth activities and a live concert by country music performer Pete Martinez, says Rebecca Eller, treasurer for the Middle Park Fair and Rodeo Board.

“We added a few new events this year to build some excitement and to bring more people to the fair,” she said.

The fair will include old fashioned carnival games, a giant bounce house, big slide, and mechanical bull on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Kid’s Day is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, and will include stick-horse and wheelbarrow races, a Roll-the-Bale contest in the show arena, Farmer-for-the-Day and carnival games. A petting zoo will also be open throughout the week.

The first Junior Rodeo will feature the area’s “best” young cowboys and cowgirls who will compete for belt buckles and other prizes Thursday night. Events include: mutton bustin’, barrels, poles, breakaway roping, goat tying, team roping, steer riding and junior bull riding.

For more information about the Junior Rodeo visit, or contact Jeff Cunico at (970) 725-3510. The PRCA rodeo is set 1 p.m. on Sunday, and with include the crowning of the new rodeo queen, Rebecca Malish.

The demolition derby will return for its third year on Friday, Aug. 8. For rules and information call (970) 531-8510 or see

Another new addition, the ATV Gymkhana is set for 1 p.m. Friday. The timed barrel and pole events are open to all ages with a motorcycle or ATV. Participants under the age of 16 must wear DOT approved gear, and participants under 18 will need a parent present and signed waiver. For more information or to enter, contact Kitty Docheff at (970) 724-3283.

Acclaimed country singer Pete Martinez of Casper, Wyo., will perform at the grandstands at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 9.

The Middle Park Fair and Rodeo was established in 1912 as a “showcase for the county’s finest sheep, goats, cattle, horses, dogs, cats, pigs, poultry and rabbits.” Visitors “get a taste of the West by watching barrel racing, cattle dog trials, the loggers’ rodeo and even square dancing.”

“It’s changed a lot over the years … to bring more crowds, change with the times,” Eller said. “The fair is by far the biggest thing that we do all year. We do a lot of other stuff, but this is our main event.”

All events take place at the Middle Park Fairgrounds in Kremmling. For more information, see

” Katie Looby can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19601 or e-mail