Fair board takes shape with four seats appointed by the county commissioners
GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – The 2023 Garfield County Fair and Rodeo has been scheduled for
July 23 – 30 at the fairgrounds in Rifle. The Board of County Commissioners approved the
dates, which were formally recommended by the Garfield County Fair Board.
Garfield County Fairgrounds and Events Manager Chris Floyd told the board that July 23-30
struck the best balance between all aspects of scheduling the annual event. The fair board’s
selected dates best meet with the scheduling of vendors and ticketed event talent.
“It’s like trying to align the stars to best meet everybody’s needs and availability,” he said. “This
year, the fair took place the first week of August, and in 2021 it was the last week of July. For
2023, the fair board recommended moving the fair back into the last week of July to
accommodate a carnival, which is an important aspect of the event.”
The vote on fair dates was approved, 2-1, with Commissioner Mike Samson dissenting in favor
of holding the fair later in the year to allow more time for 4-H and open class projects to come to
fruition, and for produce and livestock to flourish. Commissioners Tom Jankovsky and John
Martin supported the dates recommended by the fair board.
“We used to have the fair in September, and that gave the kids more time with their animals and
allowed their vegetables to grow until harvest,” Samson said. “Cattle, lambs, hogs, chickens,
now they all have to show them about five weeks earlier than they used to.”
“Times have changed, businesses have changed, and practices have changed,” Martin said.
“The fair is now driven by economics and scheduling with the rodeo, carnival, and other
offerings outside the county that we depend on to raise revenue.”
“I agree with Commissioner Samson, but that carnival is an important piece of the fair,” added
Fair board members selected
The commissioners also voted to fill four open seats on the fair board. Oliviya Daugherty, Levy
Burris, and Leah Bergener were unanimously reappointed to seats on the board after all
expressed the desire to remain in those roles after their terms had expired. Six additional
applicants submitted interest in joining the board, and after deliberation, the commissioners
appointed Blair Bracken to fill a vacated seat for the remainder of a term ending Oct. 15, 2023.
“We have some really good people who applied to be on the board, so this is a really tough
decision,” Samson said. “I want to say thank you to our fair board. Our events continue to be
very successful, and I put that on the shoulders of our fair board.”
The commissioners implored the other applicants who were not appointed to apply again in the
future if more vacancies become available. Rounding out the appointments, Duston Harris was
named royalty committee chair for next year and Bracken was again selected as the open class
chair in 2023.
“Blair has done an admirable job as open class chair, and I know the public service she has
given to the City of Rifle, as well as to the fair, has been outstanding,” Samson added. “It’s a
great problem to have an overabundance of talented people applying.”
Information regarding the 2023 Garfield County Fair & Rodeo will be published on the fair
website as planning continues for the 85th anniversary event.
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