Fair beefs up program with derby, mower race

Stetson Scott and his turkey at a recent Montezuma County Fair.

Lawn mower races, a demolition derby, a water park, a gymkhana event, live country music and a hog raffle are just a few of the highlights of this year's Montezuma County Fair, July 26 to Aug. 3.

"We have a lot of new events this year, and we are emphasizing that it is a community-wide event," said fair organizer Kathi Marler.

"You don't have to have an animal to participate in the fair," she said, but there will be the traditional bumper harvest of agricultural and 4-H events that anchor the event year-to-year.

This year's theme is Rural Roots, and artist Jennifer Lanier's illustration was chosen as the winner of the fair book's cover art contest.

Lanier grew up on a small farm and now lives in Pleasant View with her husband Joe and their six children. Her dream of having land for her children to work and play on has become a reality.

"Life on the farm makes the perfect environment to put down roots," she says.

Changes and improvements to the fair were designed to ramp up participation by adding variety, Marler said.

Demolition derby participants will start their engines earlier this year, on Saturday, July 26. Gates at the track open at 6 p.m. and tickets are $10. Cash prizes will be awarded.

Also new this year, a water park will replace the carnival and will include surfing, a water slide, a lazy river and a slip 'n' slide. The portable park is provided by Rollin Waters (www.rollinwaters.com) and runs July 30 to Aug. 2.

"We changed to a water park because it is a hot time of year," Marler said.

Tickets are $15 for a one-day pass, or $50 for a four-day pass.

Dolores Future Farmers of America called for lawn mower races, and its wish has been granted.

On Friday Aug. 1, the hilarity begins as dads and sons, or perhaps moms and daughters clamp down helmet straps and race one another on a dirt track on riding lawn mowers.

"It is a good event for kids to learn how to work on small engines," Marler said. "Blades must be removed, you understand."

Entry in the event is free, and is open to young adults and regular adults.

A Western music and cowboy-poetry throwdown is another new special treat for locals, and is scheduled to attract tourists as well.

The newly formed production company Cowboy Gathering of the Four Corners presents Terry Nash, Krystin Harris, 3-Trails West, Susie Knight, and YVonne Hollenbeck.

"It is in the tradition of the Bar D Wranglers, but a bigger line-up," Marler said.

Special music shows and performances of the Cowboy Gathering will be held throughout the fair in the main barn.

The main concert performance will take place on Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. at the grandstands. Tickets for the main show are $15 for adults, and $10 for children ages 8-14.

Also new this year is the Family Gymkhana and Team Sorting. The event is designed for parents and adult family members to participate alongside their kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews.

Events include mutton busting, Mom's goat tying, Dad's barrels, steer daubing, a stick-horse race, and parent contestant ribbon roping.

"It is more of a family event for all ages," Marler said.

On Aug. 1 and 2, the Colt Starting Challenge will take place. Six expert horse trainers compete to gentle and ride six unbroken horses in just a few hours using natural horsemanship methods. To enter your horse, call Cristy at (808) 269-3408.

To enter as a contestant, call Russell at (808) 250-9949.

Other interesting events include The Taste of the County booth. Buy tickets and sample cuisine from area eateries. The horseshoe tournament on August 1, The Chili and Salsa Contest, Ranch Rodeo, and famous Chuck Wagon dinner on Saturday, August 2, at 5:30 p.m.

"What I like about this year's fair is the variety of new events combined with the traditional ones. It is truly an event for the entire community," Marler said.

Jennifer Lanier was the contest winner for this year's fair guide cover. To read the guide, go to www.montezumacountyfair.com. Enlargephoto

Jennifer Lanier was the contest winner for this year's fair guide cover. To read the guide, go to www.montezumacountyfair.com.