Visiting the 57th Annual Northern Gila County Fair, you will see the place awash with ribbons — blue, red, white and big flashing purple ribbons and fancy red gingham ribbons designating the best of class and best of show for a given department.
There are four awards that indicate entries that are above and beyond the best — and some are not always presented. They are the three Northern Gila County recognition awards and the Lacey Balmer Oldland High Point Youth All-Around.
The recognition awards are the Zane Grey Award, the Fred Chilson Pioneer Ranching Award and the Mary Ellen Randall Award.
The Zane Grey Award is presented to the entry in the Northern Gila County Fair that best depicts life in the Rim Country of the Old West. Judging is by members of the Northern Gila County Historical Society and the Zane Grey Cabin Foundation. Points are based on Old West authenticity, skill required, originality and quality.
The Fred Chilson Pioneer Ranching Award is presented to a youth exhibitor or adult leader in the livestock division of the fair. Judging is by the Northern Gila County Fair Steering Committee, livestock superintendent and leaders from 4-H and FFA. The award is based on leadership, responsibility, citizenship and professionalism.
The Mary Ellen Randall Award is presented to the youth exhibitor or adult leader in the equestrian division of the Northern Gila County Fair. Judging is by the Northern Gila County Fair Steering Committee, horse superintendent and 4-H leaders. The award is based on leadership, responsibility, citizenship and professionalism.
The Lacey Balmer Oldland High Point Youth All-Around Award for participants in the Open Horse Show at the Northern Gila County Fair is made possible by the family and friends of Lacey Balmer Oldland.
She was very involved in the fair’s equine classes and the area’s 4-H program. She started participating in the organization’s horse shows and similar events as soon as she was old enough to do so. She was also involved with FFA.
Balmer Oldland studied equine science at Scottsdale Community College and earned a teaching degree from Northern Arizona University. In 2005 she married and moved to Meeker, Colo. where she helped her husband on the ranch, worked as a kindergarten teacher and 4-H leader.