Muddy mutton bustin’, mini bronc riding and hog catching close out fair
It was a muddy end to the Routt County Fair on Sunday, Aug. 21, after morning rain delayed the start of the day’s events, though that wasn’t enough for the folks behind the adopt-a-pig contest.
The day started with a round of mutton bustin’, which puts children in bull riding gear on the back of a sheep to hold on with all their might. The sheep deployed a few different tactics to buck their mini mounts after exiting the chute.
Perhaps the most effective at this was taking a few steps and laying down, with some even opting to roll on their rider a bit. While some tikes were persistent and stayed with the sheep when it got back up, most couldn’t maintain their grasp on the sheep, which were described as feeling like a wet sponge.
Other sheep would try the more obvious tactic of running as fast as they could. This is what one of the baaing bucks tried on eight-year-old Hayden resident Billy Doolin. He returned to this year’s fair to defend the mutton bustin’ title he won in 2021.
When his sheep exited the chute, it took off toward the other end of the corral. But after about 7 seconds, the sheep seemed to realize Doolin was no first time mutton buster, and started running in a tighter circle.
Eventually, the animal turned to run a still firmly planted Doolin on the side of the corral nearest the crowd where he fell off and offered the dozens in the grandstand his appreciation. Doolin won Sunday’s event with a time of 16.32 seconds.
“I just go backwards and hold on,” said Doolin, who added that he doesn’t have a sheep of his own to practice this strategy with. “That’s all I did.”
Events then shifted to several rounds of barrel races, where some young contestants galloped around the arena on a horse many times their size. But in the rodeo competitions, the ratio was more appropriate with both rider and mount being mini.
Then came the adopt-a-pig contest, which took place in a muddy pit further drenched by dumping a flood of water from a truck. Starting with the youngest children and progressing to adults, piglets were brought out of a trailer and covered in mud before the chase.
Contestants slipped and dived in the mud, where the pigs had the advantage and moved much quicker around the pen. But a boy in a yellow shirt got the hindquarters of one piglet, still struggling to get away. Another boy grabbed the front end, ensuring the capture for his competitor.
“You got it,” a member of the crowd shouted to the mud faced child. “Well done.”
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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