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The Rio Blanco County fair is always one of my favorite events to attend and to photograph. Lots of kids, all hustling, smiling, wet and muddy, while preparing for show time. Show time is what they have been working toward all spring and summer, many even longer. Show time is when they get cleaned up, dressed up and go out in front of family and friends to present, or show, their 4-H projects.Since it is a live show, many things can (and do) go wrong but you can tell which kids have practiced and worked with their projects the most. They are the ones who adapt to the situation and continue to smile, all the while keeping their eyes on the judge.Many Rio Blanco County kids have already had their turn at show time. The fair started two weeks ago with shooting sports, the fashion revue and cake decorating, followed by the horse show last Saturday and the dog show held Monday last.Several of those kids also have livestock projects – goats, rabbits, chickens, sheep, hogs and steers – or projects to be displayed in the exhibit hall, which opens today at 6 p.m. The new 4-H exhibition building will be dedicated before Saturday’s annual livestock auction and was already used for the dog show.I’m sure the kids appreciate all the support, not only from their family and friends but from county staff, the many volunteers and all the local businesses which financially support our youth programs to provide opportunities for our youth to be the best they can be.n n n
I met and visited (for more than two hours) with Meeker’s new high school football coach, Ron Dupree, and I’m very excited for the upcoming season and the many opportunities he is going to present to our kids. Coach Dupree is from Texas, where football is as big as the state. He has more than 30 years of coaching experience at the college and high school levels.“My goal is to help everybody become as good as they can be,” said Dupree, a retired history teacher who uses the word “we” a lot. “It’s always we, there is no ‘I’ in we because it’s not about me, it’s about the kids.” “We have a weight program designed to help all sports, we lift everyday but game day.” he said. Coach Dupree has been opening the high school weight room everyday at 5:30 a.m., 6:30 a.m., then again at 6:30 p.m. “We can help them with our program.”I enjoyed talking with coach Dupree and look forward to getting to know him better. He reminds me a lot of my high school wrestling coach. My all-time favorite coach cared about all athletes and gave everyone opportunities to improve by opening the weight room and wrestling room on a consistent basis, making sure we had a place to practice and prepare.“Talent is overrated but conditioning is not,” Coach Dupree said.Practice conditions not only our bodies but our minds, so we are prepared to perform when it’s show time.