Co-ops Shine at Colorado State FairBy Derrill Holly | ECT Staff Writer Published: September 3rd, 2013
The Colorado State Fair’s popular Junior Livestock Show served as a perfect venue for nearly half a million folks to see overwhelming electric cooperative support for youth and education.
“Most of these young people live in co-op territory; these are our kids,” said Kent Singer, executive director and CEO of the Colorado Rural Electric Association. “Supporting them is just one more way Colorado’s electric co-ops support their local communities.”
Singer’s boots were deep in the straw on the show arena floor as he greeted the packed pavilion at the 50th annual Junior Livestock Show Aug. 27, in Pueblo.
“This is such a perfect event for Colorado’s Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives to be involved with,” said Singer. Young people from across the territories of the 22 distribution co-ops and the generation and transmission cooperative serving the state were represented at the show.
“This is the eighth year that the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives of Colorado have sponsored the Junior Livestock Show and Sale,” said Jim Van Someren, communications manager of the Westminster, Colo.-based Tri-State G&T. “This is our way of supporting the youth of today and tomorrow’s leaders.”
By the time the fair wrapped up its 11-day run, an estimated 476,000 visitors saw co-op signage at sponsored events, visited energy-efficiency exhibits or posed for pictures with a Touchstone Energy balloon.
“Many of our staffers volunteer to make the fair better each year,” said Ashley Valdez, communications manager for Pueblo-based San Isabel Electric Association. “Not only is it a big event for the state’s electric co-op, but it attracts lots of other visitors too.”
Staff, managers and directors from many of the state’s co-ops either volunteer directly with the fair by serving on committees throughout the year, or support local 4-H and FFA programs.
Co-op members, staffers and senior managers were among those casting bids on steers, hogs, pens of rabbits and braces of poultry raised by the state’s 4-H and FFA members, ensuring that everyone went home with at least market prices. The nearly $452,000 raised during the junior sale boosted the total raised during the last half-century to more than $8 million.