Column: Grand County Library District and the Creation of a Rodeo Queen

2018 Middle Park Fair & Rodeo Queen Grace Johnson was all smiles with her horse in 2018.
Grace Johnson/Courtesy Photo

I have a blurry photo of my son at the age of 3 or 4, perpendicular to a sheep, clinging to his life, mud splattering at every corner of the photo limits, at a rodeo in the Grand County during an evening downpour. What started out as “Won’t this be a fun event?” turned into a 12-second fight for life, until his little arms slipped from the sheep’s neck and his body crashed into the mud. Bo was fine. So was the sheep. But that was the end of the sheep hunt for my son.

Still, the Middle Park Fair & Rodeo remained a staple of the year for us. These visits have linked us to our community, allowing us to encourage our friends in their competitions and festivities. If you’ve never been to the Middle Park Fair & Rodeo, established 110 years ago, I highly recommend it.

“Keeping Western Traditions Strong” is the caption under the Middle Park Fair and Rodeo title on its website. For one week, you can see the great accomplishments of 4-H members and the community.

How does this admiration for our traditional Western way of life relate to the Grand County Library District?

I asked Grace Johnson, 2018 Middle Park Fair and Rodeo Queen, if she could help me with this connection by sharing a memory of an experience or idea that would connect 4-H, Middle Park Rodeo and the library district.

I asked for the ideal person.

“I didn’t have a computer or Wi-Fi, so I had to use library resources to plan the 2018 Jr. Princess Annual Clinic,” she said. “At the library, I made the itinerary, created posters and posted the list online using their computers.

Grace is a smart rodeo queen. It wasn’t the first time she had visited her local library. Here’s how Grace told her story.

“When I was about 8 or 9 years old, I often had to take exams on the anatomy of the animals that I showed in those years, which were pigs, steers and sheep. The books in the library were very informative about animal anatomy, and also taught me the essential nutritional values ​​to properly feed my animals.Honestly, I used the library a lot during my early years of 4-H, as the Wi-Fi and internet didn’t were not yet widespread.

“At the end of each 4-H year, we had to create a fair book, which summarized our year with each animal. These were often tedious, especially when showing multiple animals. In these books, we explained what we had learned, the financial cost of owning animals, and we wrote essays on how the 4-H year had made us better. In these books, we had to provide pictures and summaries of our year. Since we didn’t have a printer or a computer, we went to the library, used their computers and printers, then the big tables to lay everything out and put our fair books together.

“When I started riding at 8 years old, I often found books about horses in the children’s section of the library. I remember there were so many informative books. I learned through them how to hold my hands on the reins, how to properly saddle a horse, and how to watch what they do with their ears teaches us what emotions they feel.These books had lots of pictures and simple explanations, and they helped me to learn to ride a bike.

As I flooded back to memories of Grace and all she accomplished with a little help from the library district, Grace graciously said, “I’m so glad it’s good. I know it’s a lot, but I have a lot of memories associated with 4-H and this library.

And what good memories those are. Thanks for sharing, Grace Johnson!
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If you have memories of how the Grand County Library District or other libraries have helped you, please share them by emailing them to [email protected].


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