The annual horse show at the Wyoming Fair has become synonymous with the fair itself, tracing its roots back to the beginning of the fair when it took place on Main Street.
Last year’s muddy conditions scrapped both Saturday’s open show and the Sunday show, with only Friday’s roping events being held, but competitors were back in the ring all three days this year.
The competitors were glad to be back Wyoming Fair Secretary Mike Steward said.
Mother nature threw another wrench in the system. Updates to the horse arena were planned to be in place prior to the 2019 show, but a wet spring meant the upgrades had to wait.
The arena will be getting expanded and the fencing around the arena will be more permanent, including the area used to ferry the cattle from the starting point to the collection point. The support of the people that participate in the show on a yearly basis is a huge reason the arena will be getting an upgrade. Since horses are no longer used for agricultural purposes, support for improvements largely comes from private donations.
Steward said owning and riding horses is an expensive hobby, but he was buoyed by the fact that they got new blood into the center of the ring as Cheyenne Florey judged her first show July 14.
While the Friday night roping events have only been part of the horse show for the past three years, they’ve become a constant presence around the fair grounds.
“The ropers are here about twice a month over the summer. It’s something that we can keep growing on,” Steward said.
With the wire fencing, the arena is largely used for pleasure riding. The upgrades will make it possible for the fair grounds to host rodeo events, like the one in Bellevue, and provide more uses for the ring in the future.
“We could hold one if we wanted to if somebody came and said, ‘We want to rent the facility to have a rodeo,’ we would be ready,” he said. All they would have to do would be to bring the bleachers in.
For Steward, while he said the wire fencing had served the fair well, it was time for the arena to evolve and see what the future could bring for the event.