MONTROSE – Montrose County is diverse when it comes to agriculture, but there is so much more, and this year, the Montrose County Fair and Rodeo is planning showcase all of it.
To that end, the Montrose County Fair, which kicks off Friday, July 20 and runs through July 29, has added new events, demonstrations and displays that represent the area's wide-ranging interests.
"We just wanted to make it a good ol' hometown, see what is in your community event," Fair Board President John Gibson said. "You don't want to miss any of the nights. It's going to be one our most exciting summer events that Montrose County puts on. It's going to be fun, fun, fun and full of adventure every night."
The 10-day event includes rodeos, a parade, 4-H and FFA exhibits and shows, live music and contests for the whole family. New this year are horse-racing events, a ranch sorting competition, garden and canning demonstrations, cutest baby contest, a cake decorating war and a big truck, sled pulling competition.
The fair kicks off July 20 with the Junior Dog Obedience show at 10 a.m., and the Colorado Pro Rodeo Association rodeo at 6:30 p.m. that day and the following day.
On Saturday, July 21, the community is invited to start their morning off right with an 8 a.m. pancake breakfast, followed by a parade down Montrose's Main Street at 10 a.m.
A first this year, the Black Canyon Horse Racing Association will host horse races that day starting at noon. There will be four events — two shorter races for quarter horses and two longer races for thoroughbreds.
Visitors can take a break from the races and get their dog out to the events by participating in this year's Canine Costume Contest in Friendship Hall for a chance to win prizes.
At noon on Sunday, July 22, the state's best fiddlers will battle it out in a Colorado Old Time Fiddlers-sanctioned event that will include prizes for the top musicians.
On Sunday evening, community members are invited to enjoy a worship service with a Western theme. Cowboy Church starts at 6 p.m. at Friendship Hall.
Throughout the week, fair visitors can learn new skills by participating in two Colorado State University Extension demonstrations. A canning demo starts at 10 a.m. July 24 and the garden demo is at 10 a.m. July 27.
Visitors also can show off their skills at several other events throughout the week including a horseshoe tournament starting at 6 p.m. July 23, an eating contest at noon on July 24, or the cutest cowboy and cowgirl baby contest at noon on July 28.
Live music will be part of this year's fair more than every before, Gibson said.
"Bring your lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy music in our infield area and food from local vendors," said Emily Sanchaez, fairgrounds manager.
Music in the Grass starts at 6 p.m. July 26 and features the band, Original Recipe, as well as DJ Justin Covington.
There also will be live music Monday, July 23, starting at 7 p.m., and a fair dance beginning at 9 p.m. on July 28.
"This year, we tried to touch every area in the community," Gibson said. "We want to get people from all walks of life down here to see what is going on."
There will be several nights that contain fun and entertainment for the whole family, he said.
On Tuesday, July 24, the evening antique tractor pull features a new event — a truck sled pull – which Gibson said he hopes will be sanctioned by the National Sled Pulling Association next year.
"The truck pull is going to be pretty cool and they are bringing in a sectioned sled," Sanchaez said.
Wednesday, July 25 is Community Night and includes a barbecue, farm and ranch awards, kids events and competitions, including mutton bustin, cafe and steer riding, and the crowning of the fair and rodeo royalty.
There will be more competitions on Wild West Night, starting Friday, July 27, at 6 p.m.
Area residents and visitors can see the area's high school sports teams battle it out in the Ag Olympics, where they will have to maneuver through an obstacle course to claim top prizes.
The night also includes a bit of "girl power" with the calf dressing contest, according to the fair board. This competition challenges teams of five by having them dress a calf and be the first to cross the finish line.
People can support their favorite teams through the event's Calcutta.
Saturday morning, July 28, a different kind of rodeo hits the fairground's arena.
The ATV Rodeo is a chance for residents to showcase their skills on the back of ATV, rather than a horse. It's open to all ages and skill levels.
But the cowboys return that evening for a Ranch Rodeo at 6 p.m..
"We have fun every year, but this year we wanted to make it so you walk in and are not left out," Gibson said. "There is something for everyone."
For more information, visit www.montrosecountyfairandrodeo.com.