Montezuma Countys annual fair in mid-summer provides a fine experience for area youths to display their skills in livestock raising and other agriculture-related activities.
The fair also provides an opportunity for the Montezuma County community to experience, up close, the agricultural lifestyle that adds so much character to the corner of Southwest Colorado.
I remember participating in Future Farmers of America and showing pigs at the county fair near my hometown when I was in high school. I didnt grow up to herd cattle or raise corn, but those years in FFA seeded an appreciation for farmers and ranchers that I still carry. I enjoyed the county fair along with the areas rodeos, horse races and tractor pulls.
My experience at the local county fair was something that people in almost any county in the United States with an agricultural backbone can enjoy. One thing that I never was able to attend in my home county, and one thing that most people in rural counties dont have an opportunity to enjoy, is an agricultural exposition.
The Four States Agricultural Exposition will saddle up Thursday through Sunday, March 17-20, at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds on U.S. Highway 160 east of Cortez.
The ag expo isnt a late winter/early spring version of the Montezuma County Fair. It isnt just a trade show for farmers and ranchers, either. Its an opportunity for any Four Corners resident who appreciates this regions rural, agricultural lifestyle to learn more about it.
People can pack up the family car or head out to the Montezuma County Fairgrounds with some friends to enjoy this years ag expo. The fairgrounds will provide a venue for a long list of activities that attendees can enjoy for a few hours or a few days. Some examples of activities described in the Journals 2011 Ag Expo magazine, which was inserted in Saturdays paper, follow:
One activity is Colorado State Universitys Ag Adventure program, which won Most Educational Display in 2008 at the National Western Stock Show in Denver. Designed for youths, the Ag Adventure includes hands-on, interactive displays on topics such as water, soil conservation, plant selection, livestock and crops. Many local students will participate in Ag Adventure.
Dawna Sims, owner and operator of Painted Seven Ranch Stock Dogs training facility in Dewey, Ariz., is known for her positive training principles. Sims helped create the ICE Instinct, Connection, Enjoyment training philosophy for stock dogs. She will give a training program on stock dogs at the ag expo.
The Four Corners Draft Horse, Mule & Carriage Association will give workshops and have parades at the expo to show wagons and animals. The associations president, local resident Bob Bragg, has said many people still appreciate the traditional use of animals for farm work and transportation.
Expo participants can watch ranch hands show their skills in a different type of rodeo. A Ranch Sorting National Championships sanctioned competition will test teams of cowhands on horseback as they race the clock to cut and drive cattle.
For people who own or enjoy horses, this years expo will provide a lineup of equestrian experts. Curt Pate, an American Quarter Horse Association professional horseman, will present Stockmanship and Stewardship. Jason Patrick and Scott Whinfrey, with Rescued to Ride, will present Colt Starting. Glenn Ryan, lead packer for the U.S. Forest Service Region 2 Specialty Pack String, will present Packing Skills for the Real World. Devin Warren, of Warren Performance Horses, will present Integrity, Determination, Success. And Moses Woodson, of Moses Woodson Horsemanship, will present TLC: Trust, Leadership, Control.
Other examples of ag expo activities include the Bull and Heifer Showcase, the Antique Tractor Parade, a Farm and Ranch Equipment Demonstration, and a Grange presentation on greenhouses.
Expo attendees also can stroll through the fairgrounds and visit numerous displays from vendors. Some examples include Hitchin Post Saddlery, Navajo Agricultural Products, Pampered Chef, Southwest Cowbelles/Southwestern Cattlemen, Carhart Customs, Muscanell Millworks, Log Homes of the Southwest, Ute Mountain Casino and Colorado Grown Nursery.
Along with enjoying the ag expo, Four Corners residents should thank the many people who organize the expo and who set up the fairgrounds for the event. Some of these people include the expos board of directors: President Dusty Beals of Hayes Ranches; members Kyle Beebe of BB Red Angus & Genex Cooperative, Keith Echols of Alpine Security & Electronics, Jessie Lenhardt of Integrity Glass, Montezuma County Assistant Planning Director LeeAnn Milligan, Jude Schuenemeyer of Let It Grow Nursery and Frank Thomas of Frank & Pam Thomas Cattle Co.; along with the expos executive director, Elizabeth Testa.
Montezuma County is fortunate to host events such as the Four States Agricultural Exposition, the Montezuma County Fair and the Ute Mountain Roundup Rodeo. Now if we could just get some horse races and a tractor pull.
For more information about the 2011 Four States Agricultural Exposition, visit www.fourstatesagexpo.com or read the 2011 Ag Expo magazine with a schedule of events, a list of vendors and pages full of articles about the expo. Stop by the Journal office at 123 N. Roger Smith Ave. to pick up a copy of the expo magazine if you dont already have one.
Russell Smyth is managing editor of the Cortez Journal. He can be reached at 565-8527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.