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Carnival lights up Cortez fairgrounds

This year’s event features 26 rides

Frazier Shows has been visiting Cortez during the Ute Mountain Roundup Rodeo for more than 20 years, and this year they’ve brought along 26 rides — the most so far, Frazier President Steve Broetsky said on Thursday.

Broetsky said he and his staff members enjoy making the trip up to Cortez from Scottsdale, Arizona, where the company is based.

“Coming to Cortez is like a working vacation,” Broetsky said. “We’re happy to be here.”

Hundreds of spectators walked through the thrill rides and snack booths for the second night of the carnival on Thursday evening at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. The neon lights on the rides lit up the desert as the carnival came alive with the sounds of shrieking thrill-seekers and laughing kids.

New rides this year include the Rockstar, a guitar-shaped swing that loops riders around in a circle, Broetsky said. Another new ride is the Himalaya, a carousel-type thrill ride. There are also a few new rides for kids and a new zipper ride, he said.

Bree Nuss said she comes to the carnival every year, and it seemed like there was a bigger crowd this year. There was a big line of people waiting to get in before the doors opened at the carnival, she said.

“It’s definitely one of the social events of the year for Cortez,” Nuss said.

She said the Cortez carnival has “the best rides.”

Monique Lopez said she likes going to the carnival because she likes the food and rides such as the Ring of Fire, a ride that spins thrill-seekers upside-down and around a circular loop.

“It’s fun, it’s interesting and you get to ride with everyone else,” Lopez said.

Broetsky said Frazier Shows operates carnivals all over the Four Corners region, traveling to Durango, Farmington and Navajo Nation locations in addition to Cortez.

Broetsky came to Cortez in the 1970s to camp at Mesa Verde National Park, he said. That was his first introduction to the state of Colorado, so he has always looked forward to returning to Cortez, he said.

Each year, Frazier Shows also visits Las Vegas for the Electric Daisy Carnival, a yearly nighttime carnival in June that caters to a half-million people, Broetsky said. Even though that event is much bigger, the company brings the same rides to Cortez, he said. Some of the rides are manufactured overseas in places such as Italy and Poland, he said.

The Cortez carnival crowd is consistent from year to year, with about the same number of riders visiting the carnival each year, Broetsky said. The Ute Mountain Roundup Rodeo is a highlight of the carnivals Frazier Shows puts on, he added.

“This is one of the best rodeos,” Broetsky said.

jacobk@the-journal.com

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