Day 61 – The Colorado State Fair

We’ve spent five days with Dave and Lisa. They have been wonderful hosts (they always are) but now it’s time for us to get back on the road again. We’ve already made plans to see them in the fall, when we all will be on the East Coast. Walt and I are excited about being able to host them although I’m pretty certain our tour-guide skills will never rival Dave’s. We shall do our best to provide them with the comfort, good food and fun they always show us.

When we started plotting this next leg of the trip, we immediately turned to Dave, who has lived out in Colorado for many years and always has great ideas of things to see and do and hike. He suggested the Great Sand Dunes, which I had never heard of. Apparently it’s the largest sand dune in the country and not to be missed.

I’m not exactly sure why, but we Googled “Colorado State Fair” and saw that it is going on now. It’s located in Pueblo, which is on our way to the sand dunes. We looked up the fair’s website and saw that in addition to the livestock competitions (love the bunnies and chickens), the carnival rides and fried foods, there’s also a rodeo. I’ve never been to a rodeo and I think it would be fun. Neither one of us has been to a fair in decades. So, we’re giving it a whirl.

It’s opening day but it’s a Friday afternoon and since the Colorado school year started earlier this week, the fair is actually pretty quiet. We check in on the lamb competition, take a spin through the pig barn (where Walt insists on taking my picture with the pigs), head for the chickens and bunnies, where I beg to buy a live rabbit as a pet. It’ll fit in the car. Denied.

After the art and 4-H barns, we find ourselves near the racing pigs. It’s almost time for a show so we get ice cream and claim seats. The piglets are really cute. They race very fast because they’re racing for an Oreo cookie. Who wouldn’t?

Then we see Swifty the swimming pig and the show is over.

Across the way is the sea lion show, due to start in 20 minutes, so we grab seats for that. The sea lions are very smart and strong, catching Frisbees, dancing, playing hide-and-seek. It’s billed as an educational show so we learn how they differ from seals (ears, stronger flippers), how they evade sharks (splashing water at them), how they move across land (strong flippers), etc.

We grab some unmemorable carnival food for dinner and then head to the rodeo.

The first thing, and totally unexpected, are the Budweiser Clydesdales, pulling a full beer cart. The emcee tells us all about how hard it is to drive a team of 8 horses. The driver shows off a backing move – you never think that when delivering beer, these rigs had to back up to a loading dock just the way tractor-trailers do. We’ve never seen the Clydesdales live and they’re amazing to watch.

Then it’s on to the rodeo. There aren’t a lot of competitors for most of the events but the rodeo still covers the gamut – barrel racing, bull riding, calf roping, team calf roping, bronco riding, etc. It was a lot of fun.

On our way out, we stop at the fried snack stand. Fried Twinkies. Fried Oreos. Fried Reese’s. What to choose? We settle for Fried Snickers. Warm, gooey snickers in fried batter with powdered sugar. Not a bad way to end our trip to the fair.

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