Winter FairWritten by Melissa Hemken
Fremont County’s cure for cabin fever
Lander - The town of Lander was bustling this past week with the 42nd Wyoming State Winter Fair and Trade Show. The Fair, which first began in the old Safeway building now housing Lander City Hall, has grown to encompass several venues.
The Fair kicked off in January with a queen pageant and began this year with the livestock show on March 7 at the Lander Old Timers’ Rodeo Arena. Winter Fair Royalty included young ladies from Lander, Rock Springs and Riverton.
“We tried a little different format this year,” says Winter Fair President John Schumacher. “We moved all livestock events to one weekend, at the request of traveling participants, and scheduled the trade show and live performances for the following week.”
The livestock show had approximately 120 entries from Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Montana and Nebraska. Contestants showed market hogs, lambs, goats and feeder steers and heifers.
“The livestock show is an Open Junior Show for participants 21 years of age and younger,” Schumacher continues. “It is a great way to get a head start on your showing skills for the upcoming summer season.”
Morgan Sanchez of Evanston traveled with her family to show lambs and goats.
“I really enjoy showing lambs and goats,” said the nine-year-old Sanchez, who has showen lambs for three years and goats for two.
“There are a lot of shows around Evanston and it’s fun,” Sanchez says. “My current lamb is named Cindy Lou. My goat was named Spot when I got him, but I changed it to Dominic.”
The weekend’s fair weather drew a record number to the livestock show. The increased entries for the livestock sale Saturday evening totaled $6,400 in funds.
The horse show took place March 8 with halter, performance and speed events. The show managers increased their focus on safety this year, working to minimize the number of horses standing within the Lander Old Timers’ Rodeo Arena.
“I’ve been participating in the Winter Fair for 25 years now,” says Claudia Pearson of Lander. “It’s a great opportunity to get out into the community and put mileage on a young horse. At $7 a class, it’s a play date.”
Pearson showed her seven-year-old Appaloosa gelding Rico in halter, as well as English pleasure and equitation classes.
Echo Youngbarrow of Riverton, showed with Pearson in the Senior Any Other Breed Gelding class. Youngbarrow’s naturally elegant Friesen gelding Napolean managed to edge Pearson out for first place.
“That’s the beauty of the Winter Fair, you can come with any type of horse,” Pearson says. The show participants varied from experienced riders with green horses to young riders on seasoned mounts.
The Winter Fair continued with the trade show and entertainment events from March 12-14. The trade show filled the Bob Carey Fieldhouse with 60 local and state vendors.
“We certainly couldn’t have done it without all of the volunteers,” Schumacher says. “The help provided by the FFA and the Sheriff’s office work release prisoners cut set-up and take-down by 50 percent.”
Marlene Young of Lander says this year marks her 40th anniversary volunteering at the Winter Fair. The first year of the Fair, Young, along with Andy Palmer and the Western Band, were the first entertainers to perform.
Since then Young has held pretty much every volunteer position at the Fair. Young currently works to minimize her involvement in future Fairs and transition to more of an advisor role. Young has put out a call for younger people to volunteer and continue the Winter Fair tradition.
The Winter Fair was begun to provide Fremont County residents with a much-needed break from winter boredom and relieve the cabin fever effect. The Winter Fair is now a 42-year-old tradition that has grown into an upbeat, entertainment-packed event that incorporates the feel of an old-time country fair.