Checking out the Gilpin County Fair

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With Gymkhana Buckle Series Rodeo

By Allan Tucker

Well, some of you will appreciate this article. It will be a short one. What can one say about a county fair? It would be hard to find someone who has never been to a county fair. They have been around awhile.

Back in 1765 York, Pennsylvania claims they held the first and oldest fair. But New Yorkers who will not be outdone claim they have the longest continuous running fair in the United States which started in 1807.

I believe this is Gilpin Counties 21st Annual County Fair.  Along with it this year was the final event of the Gymkhana Buckle Series. This has been a long and colorful event covering the months of June, July, and August. We had William Siegrist from the six to eight year olds, Dakota Shuler in the nine to eleven year olds, Mikaela Kugel in the twelve to fourteen year group and Ali Nelson in the fifteen to seventeen year group,  all winning a really elaborate silver buckle. Nancy Mulholland (she can tell you her age if she wishes) took home a very handsome trophy and Best of Show ribbon for highest overall points.

Somewhere in the background after all the awards were presented and cheers were made Stuart Schultz stepped up and reminded us of our rodeo ramrod, the one who has been keeping this drive going forward these last three months. He has worn only one well used straw hat, but that hat has many labels in the back besides “Stetson.” Stuart presented Larry Sterling with a beautiful silver engraved locking pocket knife. Thanks Larry for pulling this herd though.

Now back to thinking about the fair. I really had few ideas of what to share, but one thing did keep working its way through my mind. I was reminded of a comment from a friend about another mutual friend. The comment was made that the person we both knew was a bit strange and funny. I had to respond by agreeing he is a bit funny and added that everyone else I know around these parts hidden up in the mountains were also a bit funny, strange, perhaps a bit broken and quite the misfits, and that was why we all lived up here where we do. We don’t fit in the city, never will, and wouldn’t know how. And that make us all a unique bunch of folks who filled our fair grounds this weekend.

I suppose one could write a book if he was to just stand and look around. I saw people young and old with painted faces and dressed up quite interestingly. I think the faces were the normal, but not sure about the clothes. Kids with faces of a tiger, spider man, butterflies, some things I didn’t recognize. I saw kids strapped into a harness, attached to a giant rubber band, bounced off a trampoline and shot into the sky. There were some guys in blue uniforms who set fire to a small building. Wonder who they were mad at. Glad it wasn’t the outhouse. People were walking around with a plate full of fried dough covered with powdered sugar. These must be the ones who strapped themselves to the giant rubber band and went bouncing away. Then the kids who licked their plates of powdered sugar went and velcroed themselves to a sheep. That was funny.

Hey, I even saw old Bill Cody, Annie Oakley, and a bunch of their friends. They must have felt quite out of place, they started shooting anyone dressed a little different.

Another anomaly – Sunday morning started with Cowboy Church and the pastor was from Greeley. He didn’t spit any brimstone, but he spoke more of his own shortcomings and how he was learning more about how not to judge others. It was worth it sitting there on the arena benches amongst the mountains.

I do believe up in the hall of the mountain kings, the mountain gods themselves were so well pleased with the show they held off the rain which was forever just off on the horizon.

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