It’s ‘fair-well’ for Jill Delay |

It’s ‘fair-well’ for Jill Delay

Longtime fair coordinator plans move to South Dakota to watch grandchildren grow up

Jill Delay (Photo by John F. Russell)

For the past 16 years, Jill Delay’s smile and her even-keeled personality have served as a calming force when things start to get a little hectic around the Routt County Fair, and she will be the first to tell you they always do.

“We’re definitely disappointed to lose her,” said Lane Iacovetto, treasurer of the Routt County Fair Advisory Board. “But we are also excited for her and her new adventure in South Dakota.”

Delay resigned her position as fairgrounds manager and fair coordinator in July, and announced that she would be moving to Rapid City, South Dakota, where she landed a position with the Central States Fair and Rodeo.

“There’s a general manager, so I’ll be under him,” Delay said. “I don’t have to do all the paperwork and take all the complaints. I get to coordinate events and do the fun part of things.”

But before packing her bags for South Dakota, Delay will led the way one more time in Hayden, closing out her legacy with the 2021 Routt County Fair. She admits there will be a few tears mixed with the chaos as this year’s fair unfolds.

“I think I’m going to miss my fair family and everybody that I’ve gotten to know over the years because of the fair,” Delay said. “I think I will miss that stuff the most.”

Delay’s last day will be Aug. 23, right after the fair ends. Then the hard work of replacing Delay, who has been a fixture in Routt County since taking the position at the fairgrounds in 2005, will begin.

She has lived in Hayden since 1993, worked at the extension office for seven years as an administrator, then went to work for International Erosion Control Association, which was formerly based in Steamboat Springs, for four years before taking the position at the fairgrounds.

“I’ve always appreciated Jill’s ability to just dig into an issue, get it figured out and be a problem-solver,” said Todd Hagenbuch, Routt County extension agent and director. “She has always been a great asset in that office, and she’s been a good partner to extension over the last 10 years that I have worked with her.”

Over the years Delay was successful in getting over $1 million in grant funding for the fairgrounds that helped fund improvements, including a new RV park and dump, a new restroom and shower facility, and a new sound system.

She also helped establish Kenny’s Crows Nest, a memorial for the late Hayden resident Kenny Corriveau, as well as a volleyball court, bridges to connect the fairground to Dry Creek Park, a new dragmaster machine that has helped triple the use of the indoor arena and a complete remodel of the exhibit hall and restrooms during her time at the fairgrounds.

This year Delay also helped bring new grandstand seating on the south side of the outdoor arena with an announcer’s booth, storage and office space.

Delay was named 2015 Fair Manager of the Year by the Colorado Association of Fairs and Shows and earned the Starburst Award from Great Outdoors Colorado for “excellence in use of lottery funds” for the shower facility project.

“The improvements to the fairgrounds themselves I think will be her legacy,” Hagenbuch said. “The new bath house there by the exhibit hall and just getting some incremental improvements to all the buildings and helping with that has been important … and then of course, the RV park has been a real game-changer in terms of making the fairgrounds more usable throughout the year outside of fair.”

Iacovetto said getting those funds was a huge accomplishment, but added that Delay’s impacts went beyond the improvements. She said Delay helped strengthen the tie with the fair and the town of Hayden, and was always there to keep things organized behind the scenes.

Delay said she will be sad, but is also looking forward to taking on new challenges in South Dakota, where she will work under a fair manager, and jokes that now she gets to do all the fun stuff. She is moving there with her husband, Randy. Her son T-Lane already lives there with his wife and two children and her daughter, Belle Van Pelt, a 2014 Hayden High School graduate.

“I get to watch all my grandchildren grow up together,” Delay said. “That’s what I’m really looking forward to the most. The fact that I happened to get a job doing what I love to do, in a city where I want to be, is super great.”

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