With chicken flying contests, corn shucking, a chuck wagon dinner and hundreds of animals, the 2011 Montezuma County Fair gave each person in attendance a wonderful opportunity at Living the Country Life.
The fair ran from Friday, July 29, through Saturday, Aug. 6, offering a wide range of country-inspired activities and competitions.
I think it went really well this year, said fair board President Allen Whited. We had some really good events and activities.
The fair kicked off July 29 with a new addition to the schedule, the rough stock rodeo hosted by Lucky 7 Rodeos out of La Plata County. The event featured the most popular events of rodeo, including bull, bareback and bronc riding, as well as mutton busting and a mini-bull ride for youths.
The rodeo was brought to the fair in hopes of increasing community involvement in the annual event, an effort that paid of, sort of.
The rodeo was really good. In fact, it was great, Whited said. Attendance was OK, but not as high as we hoped because it rained pretty good during the event on Friday and right before the event on Saturday. But it was a good rodeo, and there were really a lot of riders.
Whited said two of the weeks highlights were the ranch rodeo on Friday, Aug. 5, and the demolition derby on Saturday, Aug. 6. Both events had higher than anticipated participation and will be cornerstones of the fair in future years.
We really had a lot of people involved in the derby and the ranch rodeo, Whited said. We just had a lot of teams in the ranch rodeo, and I think we are really going to try to push that next year and get it even bigger. It seems to be a draw.
Whited said attendance at the fair seemed to be steady this year. Since there are no ticket sales for admission, it is hard to get an estimate of the number of people who visited the fairgrounds last week.
Some visitors to the fair felt the community support wasnt as visible as in years past, however.
I think the fair has really been smaller than the ones in the past, said Nonie Bane, owner of Banes Processing, a meat processing facility in Cortez. I dont think there is as much community involvement as there has been in the past, and that is really too bad. The community needs to reinvest itself in the fair.
While many of the visitors were local, some traveled to be part of the local fair, including 16-year-old Jessica Nakai, from Albuquerque.
I think it is a pretty good fair, Nakai said. I really like the animals, and there seem to be a lot of them.
As always, those most excited for the fair seemed to be the youngest visitors.
Tanner Harper, 11, and his sister Brooklyn, 7, visited the fair Saturday because, in Tanners words, our mom told us we could. The Cortez youths, yearly fair visitors, were fascinated by the animals and planned to visit every building Saturday to see as much as possible.
I would say the animals are my favorite, Tanner said. They are pretty cool.
A wide variety of animals were on hand at the fair, including chickens, cows, swine, sheep, rabbits, poultry, alpacas and a few horses. Visitors also were treated to community horticulture and photography exhibits, as well as numerous 4-H projects.
Plans for next years fair will begin as soon as the loose ends are tied up from this year, Whited said.
We will sit down in a few weeks as a fair board and look for new board members and then we will go right into talking about what we need to change for next year and what we need to do different, Whited said. We are probably going to be looking at moving some events around to get more attendance to them and do them on different weekends.
Brooklyn Harper has a suggestion for the fair board: More horses.
The success of the fair rests on the shoulders of the numerous volunteers who put countless hours into ensuring everything goes according to plan. Whited said while some volunteers give up weeks and months of time for the fair, credit also belongs to those who pitch in on a smaller scale.
We want to thank everybody that came out and helped with the fair, Whited said. It is a community effort. Family members, kids parents, everyone. It takes a lot of people to make that thing happen. Sometimes it is just people walking by and seeing you need help setting up chairs. Everybody just pitches in and that why the fair is a success.
On the Net: Montezuma County Fair, www.montezumacountyfair.com.
Reach Kimberly Benedict at [email protected].