2017 Routt County Fair comes to life | SteamboatToday.com

2017 Routt County Fair comes to life

Emi Ramirez is shown with her steer Champ. Ramirez was excited about the start of the Routt County Fair and the chance to show her steers, pigs, rabbits, goats, lambs and heifer to judges, and hopefully, return home with her share of ribbons.
John F. Russell |
It Has Meaning by Emi Ramirez Some people think a ranch is just a place full of animals. But really, it has meaning. You wake up, feed and do chores every morning and every night. You fix fences and other things that need to be fixed. You know that every animal is different in its own way. You deal with injuries, illness and losses. Things break, things get fixed. Things die, things are born. You wake up early, you go to bed late. You spend money on feed and vet bills. But it’s all worth it! It has meaning! City people go past every day. What they don’t know is the time and effort that is put in. They don’t know the sadness and happiness that comes with it. You have to be smart, tough, strong and skillful. You have to be able to deal with the pain. You have to be able to get up every morning and work. It also gives you space and it makes you more independent. It gives you something to learn and care about. It gives you another reason to pray to God. It brings you closer to nature. It has meaning.

The Routt County Fair will officially kick off at 8 a.m. Friday, but 4-H members like Emi Ramirez have been working for and dreaming about winning ribbons since starting their livestock projects last October.

“When you are in fair mode, it’s very competitive,” the Soroco Middle School student said. “You always have to stay positive like you are going to win. I’m a very competitive person.”

But her mom Jacqueline Ramirez knows that raising livestock and being a member of Routt County 4-H is about a lot more than just the ribbons.

“The biggest thing for me is the people she meets as a part of the program,” Jacqueline said. “It is a competition, but the competition stops at the end of it all. I’ve seen both of my kids go through it — they stand there looking at their animal saying, ‘Wow what a ride.’ Have they had disappointments? Well yeah. But they have also had great successes, incredible successes.”

Jacqueline has a long list of the people who have helped her children as part of the 4-H program and considers them all mentors. She said her children have experienced life lessons that go beyond the fair, beyond the pastures and beyond their years as members of local 4-H clubs.

Emi summed up her 4-H experience in a poem she wrote for a school project, which earned an “A” from her Soroco Middle School teacher.

“Some people think a ranch is just a place full of animals. But really, it has meaning,” she wrote in the opening paragraph.

Emi, who is just 14, already has dreams of becoming a veterinarian. Her brother Foster came through the 4-H program and is pursuing an education as a diesel mechanic. It’s a career he is hoping someday will supplement the income he makes ranching.

Emi has been busy this year and plans to show 15 animals including two market steers, a breeding heifer, a market pig, a breeding pig, six sheep, two rabbits and two pygmy goats.

The eighth grader said she is looking forward to the start of the fair, but she knows it will be a lot of work.

“It’s all the time,” Emi said of raising livestock. “I feed them all by myself each day. You just have to go from one animal to the other animal until it’s finished.”

But there is a lot of work outside of feeding that includes cleaning stalls, keeping her animals groomed and clean and working with them so they will be ready when she steps in front of the judges next week.

The fair is slated to begin Friday with the open horse show. Events will continue through the weekend with the open horse show continuing Saturday and Sunday and a Cornhole Tournament & Beer Garden taking place Saturday evening.

The 4-H horse show will take centerstage Monday and Tuesday, and the 4-H dog show will also take place on Tuesday.

Other fair highlights include the swine showmanship on Wednesday, the Jake Booco Invitational Bull Riding at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, the demolition derby and lawn mower tractor races Friday. Prior to the start of the demolition derby, there will be a special ceremony held in honor of longtime fair supporter Kenny Corriveau, who died in a traffic accident in September.

“He used to show up before the morning crew and leave after my evening crew left,” said Jill Delay, fairgrounds manager and fair coordinator. “It’s going to be very emotional for a lot of people.”

The Corriveau family will be guests at the ceremony, and a memorial will be unveiled.

The fair will wrap up over the final weekend with the Junior Livestock Show Saturday night as a highlight.

Tami Eggers, Routt County 4-H Extension agent, was already at the fairgrounds Thursday preparing for a busy week in Hayden. More than 80 4-H members and volunteers prepared the multipurpose and small animal barns for this week’s events.

Eggers thinks that 4-H members and their families have spent the past couple of days doing the same thing at home.

“They are probably packing up their campers, packing up supplies and clipping or trimming,” Eggers said. “Some might be preparing for written tests or interviews and are excited for the fair to get rolling.”

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.

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