Horse competitors from the region hoof it to Hayden | SteamboatToday.com
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Horse competitors from the region hoof it to Hayden

Compared to Saturday’s Routt County Fair horse show events of working a cow and reining, or today’s trail classes and barrel racing, the showmanship events could be a yawner for spectators.

But for the the participants in four classes from 11 years old and under to the open class, it looks tedious.

Participants stand with their horses in the arena with all the competitors in the event and wait for judge Terry Wegener, who is standing about 50 feet away, to give them the nod.



Then they walk the horse directly out to Wegener and stand to the left of the 1,500-pound animal.

The judge walks to the horse’s right side, beginning to make a circle around the animal.



Like a choreographed dance, each competitor steps to both sides of the horse as the judge gets to certain spots on his circular route to the right, left, right and then back to the left side of animal.

When the judge is done, the horse is turned 180 degrees, trotted halfway back to the line, stopped, turned 360 degrees, trotted the rest of the way back to the line, then turned a final 180 degrees.

All of this performance is done under the serious scrutiny of the judge.

“I’m not nervous,” said 18-year-old Cameron Taussig while waiting to enter the ring with her 14-year-old horse, Slick.

Taussig is from Kremmling and has been showing Slick for seven years. She entered into all of the 15- to 18-year-old class events this weekend.

“I just really like to show and I rarely have the opportunity to do so,” she said.

Plus, horse shows are a fun social gathering, she said.

“You meet the nicest people here and everyone is so friendly,” Taussig said.

Doug and Dorinda Wheeler have been the superintendents of the horse show for three years. Doug Wheeler said when they took it over, they wanted to turn it into an event that people from around the region would want to compete in.

“I think we’ve done that,” he said from the announcer’s stand.

Overall champions in each of the four classes will receive a new saddle, and reserve champion (second place) will get a bronze sculpture.

“Every year we’ve gained around 100 entries,” Doug Wheeler said.

This year there are more than 300 entries in the horse show.

“We try to run it like a big show but try to keep it so anyone can come out,” he said.

Christi Northrop of the Saddle Mountain Ranch showed her horse, Lasers Next Page, in the open class and won champion mare.

“It is exciting when you win,” she admitted.

However, at the Routt County Fair, it’s just as fun to just be there with the good people, she said.

“I like showing in a place like this. It’s all just friends and neighbors,” Northrop said.

“You help out friends and the friends of friends.”

In all, Northrop has seven horses in the horse show, giving some local 4-H children a chance to show Saddle Mountain Ranch horses.

“I’m here because of her,” said South Routt local Gretchen Daley, who was following her 8-year-old daughter, Cassidy, who was preparing to show her pony.

Daley showed a horse, too, but admitted that it’s all about the children.

Northrop agreed, now sitting atop Lasers Next Page and looking at the 11-and-under class lineup.

“They really do take it seriously,” she said.

Eighteen-year-old Travis Wood, from Parcel, was dressed in a western coat, tie and black hat while preparing to show his horse, Danner.

He said he is trying to win the saddle but admitted he has more interest in roping in the rodeo events.

“I do this for the girls,” he said with a polite smile.

Lucky for Wood he was the only boy in the 15-to-18 showmanship class.

The horse show continues today with several riding events at the Routt County Fairgrounds in Hayden.

Routt County Fair

Sunday, Aug. 12

8 a.m. Open horse show

Monday, Aug. 13

8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Terry Wegener Clinic in arena

8 to 10 a.m. Baled hay entries accepted at Vo-Ag Building in Oak Creek and the Extension office in Steamboat Springs

10 a.m. 4-H dog show at Hayden Town Park

1 to 2 p.m. Baled hay entry forms accepted at the fairground’s Exhibit Hall

5 p.m. Stock dog and exhibit

5 to 9 p.m. Rabbit/poultry check-in

Tuesday, Aug. 14

7:30 a.m. 4-H/FFA Horse show

12 p.m. Rabbit and poultry check-in

6 p.m. Fair queen contest riding event

Wednesday, Aug. 15

7:30 a.m. 4-H/FFA Gymkhana

10 a.m. Poultry show

12 p.m. Weigh-in (beef, sheep and swine)

1 to 8 p.m. Home Arts check-in (Exhibit Hall)

3 p.m. Open rabbit/poultry show

5 p.m. Mutton bustin’ and ranch rodeo entries due in fair office

Thursday, Aug. 16

9 a.m. Home arts judging begins

10 a.m. 4-H/FFA Goat show

1 p.m. Bumb lamb class, market lamb and parent sheep showmanship

5 p.m. 4-H/FFA Swine showmanship and parent swine showmanship

7 p.m. Waddie Mitchell

Friday, Aug. 17

8 a.m. Market swine show

9 a.m. 4-H Cloverbud for a day, including fairground tours and more

10 a.m. Bucket calf class

1 to 3 p.m. Felting and flower arranging demonstrations

1 p.m. Beef, market beef and parent market beef showmanship

3 to 5 p.m. Spinning demonstration

5 p.m. Llama show

6 p.m. Round robin showmanship (beef, sheep, swine, dairy cows, horses, rabbits and llamas)

6 p.m. Wine and beer judging and tasting

7 p.m. Eric Heatherly

Saturday, Aug. 18

8 a.m. Exhibit Hall opens

10 a.m. Hayden Lions Club Fair Parade

10 to 10:45 a.m. Open beef show check-in

11 a.m. Tri State Equipment Tractor safety obstacle course

11 a.m. Open beef and dairy show

11 a.m. Junior Rodeo

1 to 3 p.m. Felting demonstration

3 to 5 p.m. Spinning demonstration

4 to 6 p.m. 4-H/Bobby Robinson Memorial Barbecue

4 to 6 p.m. Yampa Valley Antique Power Club tractor pulls

6 p.m. Junior livestock sale

10 p.m. Led Stetson Hoe Down Dance in sale barn

Sunday, Aug. 19

7 a.m. Sunrise Sunday Worship, grandstands

8 a.m. Slowest antique tractor contest

9 a.m. Pretty baby contest

9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Yampa Valley Antique Power Club tractor pulls

9 a.m. to 12 p.m. RCCW Ranch Women’s Contest

10 a.m. Cookie basket, brownie contest and coloring contests

12 to 2 p.m. 4-H/FFA premium pay-out livestock office window

12:30 p.m. Crowing of new fair royalty and past queen grand entry

1 p.m. Musical freestyle dressage demonstration

1:15 p.m. Ranch Rodeo

1 p.m. Blind man’s tractor race

2 p.m. Horse races

3 to 6 p.m. Open class premium pay out, Exhibit Hall

Friday, Aug. 31

5 p.m. Premiums not collected at this point are forfeited


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