Sandoval County Fair officials fell a bit behind the eight ball getting ready for the 2021 fair as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, so they are only able to hold part of the event.

The 4-H Junior Livestock Fair and Auction, plus indoor 4-H contests, are tentatively scheduled for Aug. 4-7 at the Sandoval County Fairgrounds in Cuba. They’re the only fair events that’ll go on this year.

“We were a little concerned about funding. The majority of our money comes from sponsorships … Since we weren’t really able to be out there in 2020 and working on these sponsorships for 2021, we just weren’t able to pull it off this year,” said Lacey Bendzus, county fair board secretary.

Despite things seen in a “full-blown” county fair not happening this year, Sandoval County 4-H extension agent Nicole Lujan said there will be less pressure in managing everything. She also said the livestock auction will start closer to 11 a.m. instead of the typical 1 p.m. so the kids can go home earlier that Saturday and have extra time to prepare for school the following week.

Sandoval County 4-H extension agent Nicole Lujan

“I’m hoping that all those buyers in the past, they’ll want to come out and support all the youths’ effort. But as far as from a standpoint of managing and all the stuff that goes into county fairs, that part kind of seems a little less hectic this year,” Lujan said.

Bendzus said the county’s gunning for a “big, huge fair” in 2022, rodeo, concert and all.

Even so, Bendzus and Lujan said they’re glad to proceed with an in-person 4-H fair and auction for 2021, rather than being limited to an online format.

“That’s kind of where it started, with livestock,” Bendzus said. “This year, I think it’s a huge step forward that we’re able to get the kids there… be there for a few days with their animals, show in front of a judge and then have the sale in front of people also.”

Lujan said the youth have all been grateful to have in-person shows this year.

“Just as far as showing livestock virtually, it was just very difficult, and it wasn’t the same experience for the kids,” she said. “… Seeing the livestock and animals on a screen is nothing (compared) to being able to get your hands on them.”

Tentative 2021 4-H Fair and Livestock Auction schedule

Aug. 4
• Livestock check-in: 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
• Indoor & Baking contest check-in: 8-10 a.m.
• 4-H Horse Show: 9 a.m.

Aug. 5
• Small animal & livestock check-in: 7-9 a.m.
• 4-H Rabbit Show (Leeson Arena): 10 a.m.
• 4-H Rabbit & Poultry Cloverbud show: To follow the above
• 4-H Poultry Show: 1 p.m.
• Open Livestock Jackpots: 4 p.m.
• Youth lamb & goat dress-up show: To follow the above

Aug. 6
• Dairy Goat Show: 9 a.m.
• 4-H County-Bred Meat Goat show: To follow the above
• 4-H Meat Goat Show: To follow
• 4-H Market Swine Show: To follow
• 4-H Cloverbud Lamb & Goat Show: 1 p.m.
• 4-H County-Bred Steer Show: 2:30 p.m.
• 4-H Market Steer Show: To follow
• 4-H Round Robin Showmanship: 3 p.m.

Aug. 7
• Buyer check-in: 9-10 a.m.
• Junior Livestock Sale (Leeson Arena): 11 a.m.

Matt Hollinshead | Staff writer