Fair and Rodeo makes a fine showing | VailDaily.com

Fair and Rodeo makes a fine showing

Tamara Miller
Shane Macomber/Vail DailyKody Lostroh keeps a stiff form as he tries to hold on for eight seconds during the Eagle County Rodeo Bull Riding in Eagle. More than 20,000 people attended the county's fair and rodeo this year.

Tamara Miller 8/11/04 Rodeo1 SM 8-6.jpg in local photosVeteran 4-H participant Jason Bair wasn’t kidding when he deemed Saturday’s Junior Livestock Auction one of the best in recent years. It was the best.Individuals and companies paid more than $134,000 for livestock raised by local 4-H youth, beating the all-time record of $126,000 set in 2002. Overall, attendance and sales for the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo surpassed expectations. More than 20,000 people attended this year’s events, said Dick Kesler, the county’s fair and rodeo coordinator. That’s up significantly over last year’s numbers. The purchase of Bair’s grand champion steer Saturday for $8,600 seems to have been a bellwether for the event as a whole. Before then the largest single sale at the livestock auction was $4,500, said county 4-H coordinator Jenny Wood.

“The sale was excellent,” Wood said. “We were up $35,000 even though we were down a few animals.”Better organization and a better economy are just a few of the factors Kesler said may have lead to a successful county fair. “The way the community pulls together, it’s something you just have to experience,” he said. “From the major sponsors to the small shop owner on the street, it was just terrific all around.”Families of four were offered discounts on fair and rodeo tickets: $20 for a family to attend the rodeo itself and $25 to attend the bull-riding competitions. The rodeo was the biggest draw, bringing in 11,000 paying customers over five days. Rodeo and concessions made $89,800 in sales.”For all the discount packages, that’s pretty good,” Kesler said. “People were more willing to spend some dollars this year.”Weather may have been the fair’s biggest ally this year. No performances were canceled due to rain, Kesler said.Youth in 4-H distributed buyer’s packets throughout the community before the fair, Wood said. This year’s event brought in several new bidders and “that is an indication that the kids did their job,” she said.

“The kids, they seemed to have fun, though the week gets stressful at times,” she said. “Some said they weren’t ready for it to be over.”Staff writer Tamara Miller can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 607 or tmiller@vaildaily.com.vail colorado

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