I have long admired the residents of our neighboring county, who have always been able to pull off popular community-centered summer celebrations for Fourth of July, Pioneer Day and their county fair. This year’s fair is titled “Our Hogs are Mean, Our Broncs are Mean, San Juan County Fair 2013.” It began Aug. 2 and concludes this Saturday.
Grand County has a spotty record of organizing a county fair; the event hasn’t been held here for well over a decade. But when it was going on, it seemed that so much of the work fell on too few shoulders, and that it was somewhat under-appreciated by Moab area residents. That’s sad to me. Lots of people grow great gardens that surely could rival those of our neighboring county. The same can be said for folks who raise livestock, and who paint, knit, sew, arrange flowers, bake, preserve food and take photographs. Almost anyone has some talent that could be shown off in a county fair if a person had a mind to participate.
I suppose it’s OK that Grand County no longer has a fair. After all, we have our share of special events that are more regionally and even nationally enjoyed, from foot and bicycle races to car shows, art shows, horse shows and music festivals. But it seems that Moab has outgrown the old-fashioned community confab called a county fair, where there are beauty queens, tug-o-wars and multiple exhibits of a community’s finest efforts.
Since a good portion of the Moab populace actually reside in the Spanish Valley portion of San Juan County, many people who call themselves Moab residents still qualify to participate in the San Juan County Fair. This year’s Blue Mountain Roundup Rodeo Queen is Kesley Backus, who will be a junior at Grand County High School this fall. Hats off to Kesley who was chosen as the most proficient equestrian of all other contestants from Blanding, Monticello and other corners of San Juan County. Her smiling face has been representing Moab and Spanish Valley well throughout the summer as she has attended a number of community celebrations in our neighboring county to the south. Her younger sister Kortney did the same last year as a princess at that same rodeo.
Over the years I have become a lover of country music. I enjoy many different kinds of music, short of rap, but country tunes are somehow easy on my ears. Again, I’ve been amazed over the past several years that little ole’ San Juan County is able to bring in a big-name country singer for their fair. This year it’s a guy named Phil Vassar who will be performing Thursday evening, Aug. 8.
When I attended a rodeo at the fairgrounds last weekend I was pleased to sit on new bleachers under a huge awning that kept everyone dry as the clouds threatened. Cowboys had a tough time riding the broncs in the soupy and almost dangerously muddy arena that surely could have used a few dozen truckloads of Moab sand. It made me appreciate the fine facility Grand County has in the Old Spanish Trail Arena.
For the most part I am a happy Grand County resident, and I easily admit that I wouldn’t want to live in Monticello or Blanding. But I’m not too proud to concede that our neighboring communities excel in some areas where we don’t, and I’m also not too proud to drive south and enjoy the broad slate of old-fashioned fun called a county fair.