Open-class exhibits unveiled, 4-H shows begin at Eagle County Fair & Rodeo |

Open-class exhibits unveiled, 4-H shows begin at Eagle County Fair & Rodeo

Eagle County Fair & Rodeo

Thursday, July 20 — Western Heritage Night

9 a.m. to 8 p.m. — 4-H and open-class exhibits open, Eagle River Center

9 a.m. — 4-H Swine Show, Eagle River Center

2 p.m. — 4-H Lamb Show, Eagle River Center

3 p.m. — Carnival and vendor booths open

4 p.m. — 4-H Goat Show, Eagle River Center

4:30 to 8 p.m. — Kids’ crafts, Festival Grounds

5 to 7 p.m. — Country Showdown, Exhibit Hall Lawn

7 p.m. — PRCA Rodeo, Pro Rodeo Arena

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EAGLE — The action is only getting started, but it has already been a great Eagle County Fair & Rodeo week for 11-year-old Aubrey Winstead, of Eagle.

She was sporting a great big grin Wednesday morning after she ran over to see the grand champion ribbon pinned to the skirt and top she had made as part of the Sew What 4-H Club. Aubrey had already picked up a reserve grand champion ribbon following the 4-H Fashion Revue last weekend. Topping things off, she also took grand championship honors at the Western Horse Show.

pay-off time

She is all done with competition now, but she will still be a busy girl through Saturday as a member of the Freedom Riders horseback demonstration team. Aubrey and her fellow riders perform at all rodeo events.

For 4-H kids such as Aubrey, this week marks the highlight of the summer. They display projects, show animals, check out the competition and support friends. This week is the reward for months of work.

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Aubrey has been involved in 4-H since she was 7 years old.

“I like to be able to show all the progress I have made,” she said. “The clothing is very nerve-racking because there is a lot of competition. The horse show is nerve-racking because you really have to pay attention.”

As far as competition goes, Aubrey said she enjoys riding the most.

“The horse show is usually more fun, to try to figure out what your competition is and how to win,” she said.

Aubrey is done competing herself, but she plans to check out some of the other 4-H action.

“I really like to go to the livestock sale, and I want to go to the goat show because next year we are getting a couple of goats,” she said.

Aubrey will also be attending the swine show because her best friend will be showing a pig — and she has a decision to make before the fair ends Saturday. As a grand champion, she needs to decide whether she wants a belt buckle, a jacket or a $50 prize. She is leaning toward selecting the jacket. She already has a grand champion belt buckle.

Prizes all around

The 4-H kids weren’t the only ones celebrating at the fair exhibits Wednesday. The open-class display opened to the public, so competitors from throughout the county could check out the competition and see what color ribbon was tied to their work.

Rena Horn, of Burns, organizes the display as the fair superintendent, and every year, she is amazed to see some unusual entries. Among her favorites this year is a pair of clay cowboy hats fashioned by Kym Luck, of Eagle. The hats genuinely look like weathered leather, not ceramics.

“Every year, we see something unique. This is about as unique as you can get,” Horn said.

A stroll through the open-class exhibits is a great way to discover the hidden talents of your Eagle County neighbors. The display includes photography, hand-crafted items, vegetables, jams, baked goods and more. For the ambitious among us, the Green Acre Award goes to competitors who enter five different classes — horticulture, baked goods, food preservation, fiber arts and arts and crafts.

But whether they enter a single category or a slew of them, fair competitors thrive on the friendly challenge.

“People are always pretty excited to come in and see how they did,” Horn said. “It really does pay to enter the fair. It doesn’t cost you anything to enter, and you get money back as prizes.”

While it is too late to enter the open class this year, Horn noted it’s never too early to start thinking about next year.

“Most people have a talent, they just need to release it,” Horn said.

She urged people to come by and check out the displays as inspiration. The exhibit hall is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through Sunday to see the 4-H and open-class exhibits, as well as the 4-H animals. Check it out before heading to nightly rodeo action, which starts at 7 p.m.

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