By Jody Shadduck-McNally
It’s that time of year again. A special time of year for Larimer County, full of traditions, and celebrations; a salute to our heritage, looking forward to innovation, and a chance for youth development. This year is extra special since it’s the 140th anniversary year for the Larimer County Fair, the 75th anniversary year of the Larimer County PRCA Rodeo and celebrating the 20th year of The Ranch Events Complex.
As the chair of the Board of Larimer County Commissioners, I want to share our commitment, along with the hard-working ranch staff, to making our annual fair and rodeo a welcoming, accessible environment for everyone in the community we serve. The Ranch recently became officially certified as a sensory-inclusive organization and a disability-aware and inclusive organization. These official certifications came from Visitable and Kulture City.
Before these new certifications, our outstanding Larimer County staff at The Ranch worked to organize our national award-winning Sensory Day event, which this year will be on Monday, Aug. 7, between 2 and 4 p.m. The sensory day is a time for members of a community that find the typical sensory experience of the fair unmanageable; this is co-sponsored by the Autism Society of Colorado. This special day incorporates many elements so that all families can enjoy the fair. In addition, on Saturday, July 29, for our special anniversary year, after our annual Larimer County Parade in downtown Loveland, there will be a special celebration at The Foundry downtown. Visit treventscomplex.com/events/larimer-county-fair/parade/ to learn more.
On Friday, Aug. 4, in the open area on the fairgrounds near the stage, we will welcome the Iron Family Indigenous Dancers as they do a blessing and welcome ceremony to start our anniversary year celebrations for the fair and rodeo.
The 75th anniversary year of the rodeo showcases a larger prize for rodeo contestants and interactive apps to learn more about the rodeo as you watch. The Budweiser Event Center recently added new seats inside the arena, renovated the suites, and painted the interior of the facility to increase our visitors’ experience.
Since The Ranch is focused on 4-H and serving youth development, there is lots to see in the dairy barn and the 4-H barns as the youth showcase their hard work of the year. The new 4-H building north of the Budweiser Event Center is near completion, and I have to share that it is a very impressive building that had design input from the 4-H youth and a stakeholder team.
Our Larimer County Fair and PRCA Rodeo could not happen without our hard-working, dedicated staff and amazing volunteers. A special thanks to our volunteer Larimer Fair Board and Larimer Rodeo who serve year-round and give tirelessly of their time, talents, and treasures. I hope to see you at the fair, August 4-8, and Rodeo, August 6-8, to join us as we celebrate through the decades. Thank you for your engagement, it is my honor to work hard on your behalf.
Jody Shadduck McNally, is a Larimer County commissioner representing all of Larimer County