Here’s to the Colorado State Fair

Four Southern Colorado lawmakers on Friday helped introduce their colleagues at the Colorado State Fair legislative barbecue. From left to right, Rep. Don Valdez of La Jara, Sen. Leroy Garcia and Rep. Daneya Esgar, both of Pueblo, and Sen. Larry Crowder of Alamosa. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican, and Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, at the Colorado State Fair’s legislative barbecue Friday night in Pueblo. (SOS photo)

One of the best things about late August is back-to-back activities at the Colorado State Fair.

Friday night it was the Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce barbecue, which draws lobbyists and legislators, the governor and cabinet members, local school board and city council members and more.

“I love the legislative barbecue each year,” said Rep. Clarice Navarro, R-Pueblo. “It’s an awesome experience to be able to showcase all that I’m so very proud of in Southern Colorado.

“The chamber never ceases to amaze me at how it draws a who’s who in Colorado to the fair that I love,” she added.

On Tuesday, attention switches to the Denver Rustlers, a group that raises money to buy livestock from kids showing animals at the State Fair.  Members of the bipartisan organization board buses in the metro area and head to the fair for the day.

“Best philanthropic day of the year,” is how Matthew Leebove, Mountain States senior campaign executive at Jewish National Fund, referred to the Rustlers’ rendezvous.

Sen. Randy Baumgardner and Rep. Jim Wilson pose with two former state lawmakers who now are on the Colorado State Fair board, Lois Tochtrop and Ron Teck. (SOS photo)

“The highlight for was the Centennial Farm awards,” said Sen. Larry Crowder, referring to the program started under former Gov. Dick Lamm in 1986.

“And everyone was on their best at the legislative barbecue!”

The State Fair barbecue crowd is always a little smaller in an off election year, but the participants are just as enthused.  The Pueblo Chieftain’s Peter Roper caught up with Gov. John Hickenlooper, who was in demand for photo ops from BBQ-goers.

Gov. John Hickenlooper talks to Congressman Scott Tipton while Department of Corrections director Rick Raemisch listens. (SOS photo)

“The governor had just come from the ribbon-cutting Downtown for the Professional Bullriders Association project. And he’d met with sign-carrying Pueblo residents pushing for renewable energy,” The Chieftain wrote.

“‘It was good. All good. It’s Pueblo,’ the governor called out as he readied his smile for another photo.”

Colorado  Secretary of State Wayne Williams told Roper, “I come every year to see friends I don’t get to see otherwise.”

The fair opened Friday and continues through Labor Day.