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The County Fair


Its great to be home on a Sunday, with nothing pressing to do other than read the paper and maybe cook a big breakfast to eat out on the deck. I have to make the most out of every weekend at home, because in the course of the year, I dont get many.

Yesterday was our big day at the Chaffee County fair, here in our home town of Salida CO. It started first thing in the morning with the cutting show, in which Rich and Diggs were entered. We took Dually and Tucker tooto use as turnback horses. Each rider in a cutting uses twoherd holders who stand in the corners back with the cows and try to keep them in one place; and twoturnback riders who ride opposite the contestant, mirroring his moves to keep the cow from running off away from the cutter.

There were a record breaking number of entries, with 41 horses, which is pretty good for a small county fair in the middle of nowhereand its only the second year for this show. Rich rode in the non-pro class and, as usual, drew the number one spot. That means he goes first in his class on a new set of cattle, so the cattle can be a little unsettled and you dont have the advantage of watching a few riders go to see how the cows are going to act. Nonetheless, Rich and Diggs did well. In the two minutes allotted, he cut out two cows and made some very nice turns. He had a couple small mistakes that cost him some penalties, so it was not enough to make the top three in his class of 10-12 riders. But thats okay, because his main goal at this show was to learn a little more about riding and showing his new horse. Given that hes only had this horse for a few weeks, I think they did great together!

I enjoyed being at the show and not showingits a lot more relaxed that way! I rode Dually and we helped several people with their turnback and herd holding. It was so good to get Dually in a show environment without showing. Hopefully hell learn that he doesn’t have to get psyched-up every time he is in the show ring. We were home by noon and had the rest of the afternoon to relax and putz around the house. If only all horse showing were that mellow!

Late in the afternoon, we met our good friends for dinner, then went back to the fair for the rodeo and dance. It was a beautiful Colorado evening, cool but comfortable, gorgeous sunset and the outdoor rodeo was pretty good. Actually, the rough-stock events were great (bareback bronc, saddle broncs and bull ridingthe main parts of a rodeo everyone comes to see) but the rest of it was mediocre. But it was great to watch and cheer and visit with neighbors and community members you may only see once a year at the fair.

Right after the rodeo, there is the annual rodeo dance. We danced and danced to the music of a great country band and if you werent dancing, it was great to just sit back and watch this little slice of American pie. Of course, there were local people of all ages and station therelittle girls running through the dance floor, fathers dancing with daughters, teenage girls line dancing, the serious married couples who clearly practiced their dance moves and took them very seriously, the teenage/young adult crowd intent on impressing members of the opposite sex and those of us just kicking up our heels and having a good time. You can learn a lot about people by watching them danceI dont know if any of it is true, but it is fun to imagine!

Today the fair continues with a ranch rodeo in the morning and another pro-rodeo in the afternoon. But I think weve had enough fun at the county fair for one year. Instead, a nice ride on my horse, some work in the garden and maybe some time to read a good book will top the agenda of my day. I hope you are enjoying yours!


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