‘Giddy up’ for 18th Goshen Stampede

Step one of the Cowgirl Triathlon required competitors to lasso a calf.

Riley Klein

‘Giddy up’ for 18th Goshen Stampede

GOSHEN — Country-style competitions and confections filled the Fair Grounds for the 18th annual Goshen Stampede, June 7 to 9.

The three-day rodeo festival displayed a range of all-American contests including horseback riding, goat wrangling, barrel racing, monster trucks, quad racing, demolition derbies, live music, carnival rides, fried delicacies and of course, bull riding. Kids even got in the rodeo action with a sheep riding competition.

Step two of the Cowgirl Triathlon was barrel racing.Riley Kelin

Pointy boots, ten-gallon hats and handheld fried or frozen foods met the eye at every turn. Guests moved through walkways lined with enticing games and vibrant vendors, all leading to the main attractions.

The Cowgirl Triathlon, held Sunday, June 9, showcased unique skills on horseback. Competitors began by lassoing a calf, moved seamlessly into the barrel race, and concluded by dismounting to wrangle a goat.

“The richest cowgirl triathlon east of the Mississippi” paid out $705 to winner, Shyla O’Neil, who completed the three stages of the timed event with no errors in 30.28 seconds.

Deep fried delicacies and big hats at every turn.Riley Klein

Cars wrecked in the demolition derby were lined up in the straight track to become part of the monster truck event. Customized pick-up trucks with massive wheels roared down the straight as crash-hungry spectators looked on with excitement in the stands.

An orange truck named “Terrordactyl” was fixed with 10 seats in the bed, offering monster truck rides to guests. A nine-step ladder brought riders from the ground up to their seats.

Stanley McGrath, renowned onion ring maker, has been attending the fair since it began in 2006. He said “it’s the people” that keep him coming back.

Riley Klein

Litchfield County Axe House set up an axe-throwing booth just beside the rodeo ring. Owner Joseph Kucia said his company has been attending the Stampede for the past five years.

“Litchfield County is super nostalgic,” said Kucia, noting the connection people in the area feel to the weekend’s events. “They can kind of vibe off that... I think it’s a comfort.”

Three bullseyes won a free game of axe throwing.Riley Klein

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