The Cowboy Up in Kiowa Rodeo wrapped up two days of competition at the Elbert County Fairgrounds on June 28, signing off with a fireworks display and the Hometown Heroes Dance. The Colorado Professional Rodeo Association sanctioned event was just one of three activities attracting visitors to Kiowa over the weekend.
Just down the hill from the bull riding, steer wrestling and team roping, classic cars lined Navajo street and vendors filled Nordman Park to show off their wares at the Sixth Annual Kiowa Street Fair and Car Show.
The street fair and car show opened with the presentation of the colors by the Elizabeth VFW Color Guard on Saturday morning, and inside the park, vendors offered goods ranging from jewelry to hand-made scarfs and home-canned pickles.
Michelle Oeser, Kiowa town administrator and coordinator of this year's Kiowa Street Fair, said the event attracted 65 venders, and she was pleased with the turnout.
In addition to shopping, the street fair included a live performance by local entertainers Billie Owens and Sue Link. There was a magic and puppet show for kids as well as tents with games and tests of skill where local groups, such as the Lions Club, rewarded contestant's efforts with candy and toys.
Animals were also a big attraction at this year's street fair. In addition to a petting zoo and a mule-powered treadmill spinning an ice-cream churn, volunteers from HawkQuest, a Colorado-based raptor conservation group, exhibited four birds of prey.
HawkQuest's visit was sponsored by local businesses and allowed visitors to have an up-close experience with a great horned owl, a peregrine falcon and red tail hawk as well as have a picture taken with the star of HawkQuest's visit, a bald eagle named Magissiwa.
Magissiwa was rescued 15 years ago in Washington state after surviving a fall from her nest as a 6-week-old eaglet. Her mother had abandoned the nest after her mate was shot. HawkQuest exhibits Magissiwa as part of the organization's efforts to educate the public about birds of prey.
The Kiowa Street Fair is inspired by a similar event, which is believed to have taken place in 1910 on Comanche Street. In 2009, the Town of Kiowa revived the fair and this year, combined it with the Kiowa Car Show.
The car show returned following a two-year break and featured more than 20 classic cars ranging from hotrods to American heavy metal. One entry, a 1974 Plymouth Valliant Skamp, named Tommy Knocker, was rigged with spikes, wrapped in chains and topped off with a vampire baby head making it possibly the ideal escape vehicle if ever there were a zombie apocalypse.
After the sun set on a day filled with activities, damp conditions allowed for the first fireworks display in Kiowa since 2010, and the Cactus Jack Band closed out the weekend, returning to the stage for a second night for the Home Town Heroes Dance.