Jeffco fair to mix urban and rural

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When people hear the words “county fair” and “rodeo,” images of cowboys, cattle and bull riding usually come to mind.

The Jefferson County Fair and Rodeo — along with 4H youth development — are trying to change that image with this year’s theme.

The “County Fair with an Urban Flair” will feature events to appeal to urban folk, while keeping traditional fair and rodeo shows that appreciate rural life.

“We are really trying to bridge the gap between urban and rural communities,” said Lisa Sholten, extension agent and 4H youth development for Colorado State University extension.

Livestock sales and bids are usually the staple of county fair’s and rodeos. Sholten noticed that some visitors, and even some locals, did not understand the dynamics of livestock bids. Instead, 4H decided to have a youth’s farmer’s market on Aug. 11, for meats that might not sell at the livestock sale the previous day.

Farmer’s markets are more familiar to urban residents, said Sholten.

Interested buyers in fresh meat no longer have to buy a whole animal, and can buy halves and quarters at the market.

Although 4H will have their sheep and goat shows, they will also have animals and pets more common in urban areas.

There will be a dog show on Aug. 10 at 12:30 p.m. followed by a rabbit hopping contest at 1:30 p.m.

This year, organizers for the Jeffco fair and rodeo are anticipating 20,000 attendees with the help of their sponsor, radio station KYGO.

“We hope to grow it more in the future for longer hours, more fun and more people,” Sherie Wren, VP of the Jeffco fair and rodeo said.

With the event growing each year, organizers will have to balance expansion and cost in order to keep admission free.

“We would like to keep it community friendly,” said Wren.

Keeping in step with county fairs and rodeos, some of the more well-known shows this year will include Jeffco’s rodeo with bareback riding and roping, and the 2nd annual Evening of Horses held Aug. 9.

Highlights for this event include the Westernaires performance of drills and tricks, the Kodiak Ranch Clydesdales, a sidesaddle performance and horse soccer.