Middle Park Fair and Rodeo kicks off Friday
Slip on your boots and dust off your cowboy hats because the rodeo is coming to town.
The Middle Park Fair and Rodeo is set to return to Grand County for its unprecedented 101st iteration this weekend, offering ten days of cattle, competition and fun.
“It’s a way to celebrate our western heritage around here,” said Robert Nelson, president of the fair board. “We’ve been here for over 100 years, and it’s just a way for everybody to get together and celebrate our lifestyle.”
The fair will start on Friday and will continue through the 13th, at the Middle Park Fairgrounds in Kremmling.
The fair is extensive, offering a myriad of daily shows, exhibits and competitions for people of all ages. The fair grounds will be open to visitors during the week, and will cost a small $10 gate fee Aug 11-13.
Headlining the fair is the CPRA Rodeo; where professional riders compete in bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, bull riding and several other high intensity events.
“We’re sanctioned by the Colorado Pro Rodeo Association to have an event like this, where pro riders can come in and compete things like team roping and barrel racing,” said Nelson. “It’s always a lot of fun.”
Another substantial event is the junior livestock auction, wherein local 4-H youth from Grand and Summit County will sell their market-raised animals to raise money.
“They show off their animals for placement and sell them afterwards to raise money for school or whatever they need,” said Nelson. “They really get to show off their hard work every year.”
There will also be an exhibition hall where locals can bring their trades such as food or artwork to display for visitors and win prizes. Horse racing, a new addition and crowd favorite of last year’s fair, will also be returning this year.
The fair is a family event that offers activities for everyone. There will be dog and cat shows, a 5K run, dancing, pie baking contests and barbecues just to name a few.
One of the main goals of the festival is to shine a light on some of the exemplary residents of the Middle Park area.
An example is the election of the fair’s royalty, a group of young women who represent Middle Park at other fairs, events and parades. This year’s queen is Madison DeCicco, who served as the fair’s attendant in 2016 and princess in 2014. DecCicco is a junior at Middle Park High School. This year’s attendant and princess are Abbie Halley and Maddie Probst respectively.
“We elect a queen every year at the rodeo, and a new queen will be elected at the end of the fair this year,” said Nelson. “She participates in events all over the area in Grand Lake, Granby, Fraser and even Boulder. The royalty really just represent Middle Park as a whole.”
Each year a group of important and long time residents are elected as Pioneers of the Year, to represent the pioneer families that settled Middle Park in the late 1800s. This year’s pioneers are Jim and Bob Chase, brothers whose family has owned a homestead on Willow Creek since 1917, and Lorene Linke, who has lived in the 110-year-old Roaacher family homestead for 60 years.
A great deal is also made to memorialize some of the important Middle Park figures that have passed away over the last year. The fair will recognize John Murphy, Georgeann Field Pineda, Ken Wheatley and Eldo “Tiny” Gallagher.
Between amazing rodeos, lively auctions, and a traditional western atmosphere the fair promises to be a fun time.
“I hope to see everyone come and enjoy it,” said Nelson. “There’s plenty to see and do for everyone, so they should come and have a good time.”
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