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l-r: PeeWees-Roan Cruz, Sedona Hawks, Hadlee Milenski, Jacklynn Milenski, Colt Hainer, Stealy Lord, Harper Hawkins, Tecla Cruz.

Happy Trails with Dawni O'Bryan: Life Isn't Always Fair, But Oh, When It Is


By Dawni O'Bryan

August 2, 2023

When it is county fair time, life is about the fair, life is the fair, for at least a week, for the families, exhibitors, and volunteers that make this special event possible every year. Great preparation has gone into the many projects, activities, and events held during the county fair. The fair board meets regularly to make sure things run smoothly. A few fairs have already taken place in our area and several more will take place before the state fairs ramp up. I encourage everyone to support your county fair and appreciate the folks that make it happen. It is where farmers, ranchers, and townsfolk come together for visiting, eating, dancing, competition, and entertainment. There is great pride in being from a small town and enjoying the 4-H, FFA, and open entries that are on display. If you’re not proud to be from a small town, you better watch the Jason Aldean video that has lit up country music.

Hamilton County Fair in Syracuse wrapped up its week-and-a-half long fair. The ranch rodeo saw 10 teams competing in the team doctoring, double mugging, wild cow milking, calf branding, and trailer loading. It was put on by the Syracuse Saddle Club. Taking first place was Ark Valley Feeders (43 points) with team members Kyle Spitz, Sy Spitz, Clay Forgey, Nick Peterson, and Phy Lord. Second place tie-breaker (33 points) honors went to Damnera Ranch with team members Tyler Hainer, Pete Danko, Buck Deforest, and Josh Weimer. Third place was OJO Ranch (33 points) with team members Cory Hatcher, Brandon Bloyd, Cody Hatcher, Jordan Rider, and Casey Hatcher. Fourth place was S & S Cattle with team members Darrin Simon, Brandon Nix, Ricky Garcia, Trevor Stucky, and Jacob Voorhies (31 points).

The Bent County Fair in Las Animas changed things up a little this year. The Colorado Professional Rodeo Association, co-sanctioned with the Kansas Professional Rodeo Association, held its two-day rodeo at the beginning of the fair instead of the end. The rodeo grounds received three inches of rain prior to the two performances and one day of slack. Standing water had horses and cattle splashing through the various rodeo events. If the times seem a little longer than normal it is because it was literally a mud fest. The bareback riding was won by Wyatt Aldrich with a score of 72 points ($844). In the tie down roping, first was Lance Neuerburg with a time of 12.9 seconds, followed by OT Edwards with a 13.0 second run. In the team roping, Jay Tittel and TJ Watts stopped the clock with 7.2 seconds for 2nd place. The steer wrestling was won by Brady Buum in 4.8 seconds and $724 (some of which will be used at the laundromat). In the 40/40 team roping, the hometown boys, Darren Ridley and Scott Morlan, won the contest with 14.3 seconds. In the barrel race, Dolly Diodosio, of Fowler, found out that her horse is a “mudder” and took top honors with 17.9 seconds. Hartman cowgirl, Lindsey Cade, was 4th with 18.7 seconds.

On Tuesday, the barrel racers of the Southeast Colorado Can Chasers made their appearance at the Bent County Fair barrel race. It also marked the halfway mark for their season that goes from April to October. Prizes were given to all the peewee riders, winners of the youth divisions (1D-Jewel Randall, 2D-Taelyn Seufer, 3D-Garrett Hainer), and to the four division winners in the open. The grand prize saddle blankets went to the riders that had accumulated the most points on their horse across all divisions. Tracy Housholder of Syracuse was the grand champion and Talara Coen of Wiley was the reserve grand champion. These two ladies hardly ever missed a barrel race and made great effort to get points at every one. In division one, Shali Lord won the flysheet midway prize, division two was won by Housholder, division three was won by Coen, and division four was won by Kathy Johnson.

Let’s get out and support the county fairs in our area; you’ll be glad you did. As every teenager and Chris LeDoux knows, “There’s magic in the air. Ain’t nothing I know of can make you fall in love like a night at the county fair.”

Happy Trails.

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