Fair to heat up next week

The dog days of summer are typical in August, but they rarely come with dog paw readings, pet tricks and the 50-yard dash.

Doggy Days will help kick off the 91st annual Routt County Fair on Monday. It is a chance for Routt County residents to show off their dogs' skills.

Owners and their dogs can enter such events as stupid pet tricks, a doggy and owner look-alike contest and the 50-yard dash. Dogs also can have their paws read by Madame Canina. Doggy Days start at 3 p.m. Monday at the Routt County Fairgrounds.

"Everyone in Steamboat has a dog, so put him on a leash and come on down," said Routt County Fair Board Coordinator Jill Altman.

Before Doggy Days is the 4-H Dog Show, during which 4-H participants show off the obedience and showmanship skills they have been practicing all year with their dogs.

Doggy Days is just one of the many events during the fair in which the animals are the main act. This year's fair offers some new and old events.

The fair starts Saturday and Sunday with the open horse show and then gets into full swing Monday with Doggy Days and other events.

Although some Routt County dogs are sure to have some impressive tricks, they likely won't compete with Valentine's Performing Pigs.

From Aug. 18 to 21, the pigs will be performing. They are a new act to Routt County but come with distinguished credentials. They have been shown on the "Late Show with David Letterman," Animal Planet and "Good Morning America."

The pigs play baseball, golf and soccer. They bowl, slam dunk basketballs and make football field goals. After the show, the audience can meet and pet the performers.

Another new event fair organizers are hoping will draw a crowd is the bull-riding event Aug. 18. Altman said the event would have just 20 contestants, who can sign up for $50 and have the chance at winning $1,000.

About 10 people have signed up for the bull-riding event, but Altman noted that not a single contestant is from Routt County. She challenged any Colorado or Routt County rider to enter.

"We would like to see some Colorado boys come in," Altman said.

Other new activities include inflatable rides and carnival games, the Ag Olympics, chainsaw carving demonstrations and walk-a-bout camels.

Although no animals are involved, a favorite fair event is the wine and beer tasting contest. Anyone who makes wine, beer, liqueurs, root beer or soda pop is invited to enter.

Entries can be dropped off at the Routt County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall between 1 p.m. Aug. 17 and 6 p.m. Aug. 19.

The public is invited to attend the judging, which begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday and comes with cheese and crackers.

A longstanding Routt County tradition, the beer and wine tasting event began in 1975 and was so successful that the state fair initiated a similar event in 1981.

"It is just a real laid-back, fun event," Altman said.

A full listing of this year's events can be found online at www.routtcountyfair.org or fair books can be picked up at local businesses in Hayden and Oak Creek and in Steamboat Springs at the Routt County Extension Office, Elk River Farm and Feed, Soda Creek Western Mercantile and Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229 or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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