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Grand old time at Grand Old West Days

Organizer: Very successful weekend


Between the largest rodeo pool in the event’s history and a populace and visitor pool raring to get back to something that feels like normal, last weekend’s Grand Old West Days couldn’t have gone better.

“We had 218 rodeo contestants, up from 160 two years ago,” said organizer Melody Villard. “Almost a full house at the Saturday night concert, just shy of 1,000, and capacit was 1,250. And that’s paid ticket-holders. There’s also VIP, beer garden workers, and of course the band and their staff.”

After a year-plus of canceled and restricted events due to COVID-19, including the cancellation of this very event last June, seeing folks out and about like this was a breath of fresh air for Villard, who is also a Moffat County commissioner



“It was great,” she said. “I was able to pull off a Fourth of July CPRA rodeo (last year), but that was the one event we did in Moffat. My Grand Old West Days was canceled last year, Whittle the Wood canceled, Balloons cancelled, High School rodeo. It was really good to get back in the saddle.”

It wasn’t easy, necessarily, but it was worth it, Villard said.

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“We had to relearn things after two years off,” she said with a chuckle. “But it was good. Great turnout, and people were ready to get out. The carnival is always popular, the Chamber puts that on, and Grand Old West Days, the participation was great. A lot of happy people getting out and getting going again.”

Villard said the whole fairgrounds was used up for the event.

An aerial photo of the Moffat County Fairgrounds taken during last weekend's Grand Old West Days festivities.
Mountain Eyes Drone / For the Craig Press

“We used every available space,” she said. “Had 106 indoor stalls for the fairgrounds, and put up 123 portable pens for animals. It was huge. Every inch of campus was utilized.”

This would have been the 30th year of the Grand Old West Days had it not been canceled last year, Villard said. She’s been running it in some capacity for the last five years.

“It’s a benefit to the community in sales, fuel, food, lodging,” she said. “We request the kids (in the rodeo) wear their back numbers when they’re out in the community, so it’s great to be shopping or at the movies and see a kid with the back number on and five people at the table with them. It’s a big deal. We appreciate the impact to the community.”


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