Duck sorting adds new activity to traditions at Routt County Fair (with video) |

Duck sorting adds new activity to traditions at Routt County Fair (with video)

HAYDEN — As Lane Iacovetto was scrolling through her Facebook feed one evening, she came across a video she found intriguing.

The video depicted a group of children carrying stick horses, listening to a caller call out a number and herding ducks in order according to the number. If the children went out of order or touched one of the ducks with the horse stick, they were disqualified, and the child to herd the ducks the fastest wins the game.

“I thought it was a genius idea,” Lane said. “It’s really hard, too. It’s much harder than it looks.”

Feeling inspired by the video, Lane and the Iacovetto family, who own and operate Saddleback Ranch, a livestock ranch with several tourist attractions such as snowtubing and horseback riding, brought duck sorting to the Routt County Fair on Saturday.

As many children at the fair may not have horses of their own or have experience riding horses, Lane said one goal of the activity was to provide kids not able to ride horses a prominent event.

Makayla Iacovetto, a daughter of Lane and her husband and ranch co-owner, Jerad, said the concept is meant to mimic herding cattle.

“In the real world, it would be cow herding. It’s the same concept where you look around, and if you see two moms and two babies apart, you push them together,” Makayla said. “In real life, when you have babies and moms, you have to keep them together and make sure each mom has their baby with them, because you don’t want babies to get left behind.”

This year’s fair was the first time the family added duck herding to the list of activities, but Jerad Iacovetto said the fair, which has taken place since 1924, holds deep roots for his family. As a child, Jerad remembers the fair marking the end of summer before heading back to school.

“You get together where you can show your animals off for the fair and keep the tradition and the heritage alive,” Jerad said. “Its really important because I remember this was like the one weekend before school started that all of the kids would get together and all the farms would get together, then it was onto school in the winter time.”

Lane echoed Jerad’s memory, and said the fair is a good reminder of Routt County’s Western ranching heritage, while adding new, unique traditions each year reminds attendees of the present and future of a rapidly-growing county.

“Every year is different, and we add and take away things, but its definitely important to Routt County’s history and heritage,” Lane said. “It goes back to the ranching condition of sorting for cattle, whether you’re sorting them by weight or sorting them for sale.”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.