GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. – Chris Floyd has taken the reins as the new Garfield County fairgrounds and events manager, following 15 years of experience working for state parks departments in Georgia, Texas, and Wyoming on historic sites, outdoor recreation, and facilities management.
Floyd managed the Wyoming Outdoor Recreation Office and was a parks district manager and superintendent there since 2016. He’s experienced with large events, including the Fort Bridger Mountain Man Rendezvous, which welcomes between 25,000 and 30,000 people over Labor Day weekend annually. He said he cherishes the interactions with attendees and has always felt a strong dedication to public service.
“Public service opportunities are naturally appealing to me,” he said. “What called my attention to the Garfield County role was that it mirrored much of the work I’ve done for years in facilities management, events, and public programs. The only difference is a bit more livestock and few more rodeos. I’ve been around those types of events, informally, and now I’m excited to be more involved.”
Having spent most of his career at the state level, Floyd said working with local and county governments over the years to develop outdoor recreation opportunities made the move to Garfield County a smooth transition.
“I developed a deep appreciation for local government and was looking to make the transition from the state level,” he said.
Floyd aims to diversify the offerings at the annual Garfield County Fair and Rodeo, while still honoring the deep traditions that are the bedrock of the event. He also wants to ensure that the fairground is heavily utilized year-round with a wide range of activities and interests from throughout the community to “keep an eye on the future.”
“My vision is we need to do whatever we can not only to sustain, but grow the fair,” he said. “There is an opportunity to ensure the event is robust and diverse enough to attract a broad audience far into the future and that’s what I plan to do. There are a lot of traditions both during the fair and taking place in the other months at the fairgrounds and we will continue to support those activities. Over time, there are also some new activities we can integrate into the event and host on-site.
“We’ll be open to new ideas from the community, including new events and types of programs,” Floyd added. “We’ll take suggestions from folks and try and work them into the schedule.”
An adventure motorcyclist and outdoorsman, Floyd said the outdoor opportunities offered in Garfield County made his hiring that much sweeter.
“It’s just a great place to live,” he said. “It’s close to high mountains and high deserts. From that perspective, the area had a lot of appeal for me relocating here. It was just a matter of finding the right opportunity and I feel I’m a good fit.”
The 84th annual Garfield County Fair and Rodeo takes place Aug. 1-7, at the fairgrounds and events center in Rifle. This year’s entertainment schedule will be announced in the coming weeks at garfieldcountyfair.com.
New fairgrounds reservations are being taken starting Feb. 7
The county has hired and trained three new staff members and regular hours of operation have resumed at the fairgrounds, which is again accepting reservations beginning Monday, February 7, at 10 a.m.
“One of our first goals was to get the fairgrounds operations back up and running at full tilt,” Floyd said. “Now that our new staff has received sufficient training, we’re ready to do just that. We appreciate the community’s patience over the last few months.”
Reservable facilities at the fairgrounds include the indoor arena, covered arena, outdoor arena (weather permitting), grandstands, North Hall (capacity 100), South Hall (capacity 300), Event Hall (capacity 200), commercial and catering kitchens, a concession stand, five barns with stalls, and the parking lot (for food trucks, events, etc.).
Reservations can be made up to 12 months in advance and payment must be made at the time of the reservation. Cash and checks are accepted but credit/debit cards are preferred.
Demand is high for reserved rides in the indoor arena for the final two months of winter, so those who make reservations are initially limited to one two-hour session per week through the end of March. Any leftover time slots will be re-released for a reservation to anyone requesting multiple ride times.
Anyone interested in making a facility or event reservation can either visit the fairgrounds in person at 1001 Railroad Street, Rifle or call 970-625-2514. More information can be found at garfield-county.com/fairgrounds.
“A lot of people have fond memories of things they’ve done at the fair and at the fairgrounds for many decades,” Floyd said. “We want to help everyone create new memories for years to come.”