EAGLE, Colo. – The people that live in Eagle County and the surrounding communities have come to expect great happenings.
The Eagle County Fair and Rodeo is no different, which is why it was a virtual sellout each of the four performances for this year’s rodeo, which took place July 24-27. There are numerous factors that make the annual event a must-see.
“It doesn’t hurt to bring the best of the best,” said Hanna Albertson, chairwoman for the fair and rodeo’s advisory committee. “In Eagle County, we put on the New York Philharmonic with Bravo Vail and the Vail Dance Festival, so it’s expected here. We can’t put on a mediocre rodeo; we have to put on the best rodeo.”
That’s been the case for a number of years, and this year’s expo was one of the best. Not only was there a record 91-point saddle bronc ride by Rusty Wright, but he also was one of dozens of competitors with National Finals Rodeo experience to compete in Eagle this July.
“I think what makes our rodeo so great is a combination of our amazing sponsors, where we live and who we bring in as our specialty acts, out stock contractor and our contract personnel,” Albertson said. “We work together as a team, and we’re in it to put on a great show.”
That’s true. This year’s rodeo featured Justin Rumford, who has been named the Clown of the Year six times in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, and charro Tomas Garcilazo, a four-time winner of the PRCA’s Dress Act of the Year. While Rumford and his comedic antics kept the crowd in stitches, Garcilazo and his family, including 5-year-old son Louis, allowed for some “awe” moments each of the four nights.
Throw in the great animals and production from the livestock production firm of Pete Carr Pro Rodeo, and there’s a reason why there were multiple world champions who found their way to the Eagle pay window.
“I think the rodeo was fantastic this year,” said Tanya Dahlseid, the fair’s manager. “I just love working with Pete Carr and his whole crew. They’re like a family, and they’re so helpful.
“We have an amazing committee. Hanna does a great job, and we are so fortunate to have all five members of the committee together because they make a great team. It’s an honor to see the world champions here; I love how everyone’s so kind and professional.”
The tell-tale sign of excellence came through the large and active crowds that were part of each night’s festivities.
“It’s a very excitable,” she said. “It’s cool to have the crowd so into it. It makes for a fun experience for everyone involved.”
“If you are a contestant or a person just visiting, there’s some definite energy in our rodeo,” she said. “The great thing about Eagle is that there are a lot of first-time rodeo visitors, and when they hear that crowd and that energy, you make a rodeo fan for life. We are promoting and continuing the legacy of the sport of rodeo.”