While we were staying in Meeker the Rio Blanco County Fair was in session. The fair was mostly about 4H & FFA youths showing their livestock and a Buckaroo Rodeo.
The first couple of days of the fair was the preliminary judging of youths abilities to ‘show’ their livestock. It wasn’t so much about the livestock as how well the kids handled the livestock. Much the same as the way dog shows are done. Yes it is about the animal, but a lot of the judging is how the human handles and displays the animal. The judges spent a lot of time explaining to the kids how they should be ‘showing’ the animal.
The last day, Saturday, there was a round-robin showing of the livestock. The species of livestock are pigs, goats, sheep, horses and steers. The age groups were: Seniors, ages 15-18; intermediate, ages 11-14 and junior, 10 and under. The winners of the preliminaries each brought their animal to the arena. The round-robin consisted of; first the owners of the animal showed their animal and was judged for three minutes of showing, then they rotated to a different species. This meant the kid not only had to show a species of animal different than one they brought to the show, but it was also an animal who had not been handled by the kid before. Think about how you would feel trying to get someone else’s dog to obey your commands. It was very interesting to watch.
Seniors showing their steers
The judge explaining to the girl what she should be doing
One of the interesting parts of the showing was watching the very young kids trying to handle the large steers.
This girl was about 9 years old and the steer must have out weighed her by four or five hundred pounds
About the same with this boy
This little boy, about three years old was standing near the top rail of the arena enclosure thinking he was just as big as the kids inside.
And he was going to tell them just how to do everything
After the round-robin there was a rabbit chase. Two age groups, the 2 and 3 year olds, and the 4 & 5 year olds. Cute.
The rabbits in the center
A couple of the kids caught one. Lucky the parents who’s kid didn’t catch one.
Then it was on to the Buckaroo Rodeo.
First they had the “Mutton Busting”. Similar to bull riding, except it is 6-9 year olds trying to ride a sheep.
This kid rode pretty well.
Out of the chute
Big kid or brother helping him off of the field. No he wasn’t hurt.
Girls were part of the competition as well. Only this sheep jumped into the air just as soon as the gate opened. No way was she going to be able to hang on.
This boy had a really good hold and would ride for a long time.
Good ride, only now the sheep is riding toward all the other sheep which had already been ridden.
He’s still hanging on but now he’s in the center of the herd, not a good place to be. I think he was afraid to let go. The older boy was chasing after the herd to help the boy off of the sheep.
He got off the sheep alright in the end.
We were afraid this boy was going to get hurt. It turned out OK in the end. Maybe some bruises.
This little girl, about 7-8 years old did a really nice job of handling her horse. She was just walking the horse, so I guess she didn’t have a lot of experience.
It must be a lot harder to guide a horse around the barrels than it is to just ride the horse down a trail or around the arena. All the youngsters we saw earlier in the day, even the 5 & 6 year old's, looked very comfortable riding their horses. When it came to the barrel racing the very young ones had some trouble guiding the horse around the three barrels.
This horse & rider were a lot more experienced
They start the barrel racers at about three years old, only they use stick horses and the mommies guide them around the barrels.
And then there was the calf riding for the older kids, 10-12 year old's.
This boy didn't look very confidant!
and he is off
Another boy & calf are out of the chute
and he is off too!
Do you think you could ever have been able to hang on to a calf with it jumping, like this girl is doing?
I think this calf is saying "I'm the winner here, not you."
In the end I think the kids who had the most fun were these kids rounding up the calves. They chased the calves all over the arena trying to herd them out the gate.
Sharon & I had a most enjoyable time watching all the activities at the fair & rodeo.
That's all for now.
Al & Sharon