EAGLE, Colo. – To claim the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo was a success might be an understatement in 2018.
When the fair concluded last weekend, there were tons of positives flowing out of the mountain community. The Junior Livestock Sale raised $360,000 for Eagle County youth, up $65,000 from 2017. That says something about how the community comes together for the four-day exposition.
“People are so excited about the 80th year next year so they can see what we’re going to do,” said Hanna Albertson, chairwoman of the fair and rodeo’s advisory council. “We’re talking about what we can do to make a bigger splash, make it more fun and do some different stuff for our contestants.
“We are continuing to improve the rodeo not only for the spectators, but also for the competitors and everyone else involved.”
That’s why the event was recognized as one of the top 20 rodeos in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association events in 2017; it was one of five nominees for Medium Rodeo of the Year. And the way things went this past week offers up another chance for the Eagle rodeo to be recognized.
“We were only 400 people shy of selling out all four performances,” said John Gwatney, the livestock supervisor for the production team from Pete Carr Pro Rodeo. “That says it all. The last three performances were complete sellouts.”
It made for an incredible atmosphere inside Johnette Phillips Arena.
“The thing about that rodeo is just when you think it can’t get any better, it just does,” said Scott Grover, rodeo’s announcer who calls the action via horseback. “The buzz is around town. They had to turn away hundreds of people on Saturday night.
“With the top stock that Pete brings, you get the top cowboys. Everybody wants to be there, from the contestants to the fans.”
It was a who’s who of the top names in ProRodeo. Bill Tutor, the No. 3 bareback rider in the world standings, won the rodeo with a 90.5-point ride on Carr’s Bright Lights; it was the highest-marked ride of this year’s rodeo. Spencer Wright, the 2014 world champion, tied his nephew, reigning world champion Ryder Wright, to win the saddle bronc riding title.
“That committee changed some things to make it better for the cowboys,” Gwatney said. “the scores were high, and the times were great. You’ve got the greatest people in the world that love rodeo and have a captive audience. Scott Grover, (clown) Troy Lerwill and Pete Carr Pro Rodeo put on a show that was second to none.
“It was one of the best rodeos Eagle has seen in a long time.”