Ridgway Old West Fest Plans Take Shape in Colorado

John Wayne in the movie True Grit Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Plans are well underway for the first Ridgway Old West Fest to be held October 11-13, 2019 in Ridgway, Colorado.  The festival, which will become an annual event, is intended to highlight the town’s film, ranching and railroad heritage and to celebrate all things Western.

“We have a lot of fun activities planned, and there should be something for everyone, young and old,” said Eve Becker-Doyle, Ridgway Western Heritage Society president. “The 2019 Old West Fest is free. It does not have a registration fee. While some of the events require a paid ticket, the majority do not. That makes a really cost-effective weekend for our attendees. Right now we are also looking for business sponsors and vendors,” said Becker-Doyle.

Festival activities include cowboy music and poetry, a Western arts and crafts exposition, four movies, train rides, a tour of a model train that occupies an entire basement, a Western Heroes and Villains  look-alike contest, children’s horse and pony rides, horsemanship demonstrations and a cowboy action shooting contest.

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of True Grit, the movie that earned John Wayne his only Academy Award. Director Henry Hathaway had been to Ridgway in 1962 when How the West Was Won was filmed. He liked it so well he brought True Grit’s cast and crew to Ridgway and Ouray County in the summer of 1968 to film much of the movie, which was released the next year.

One goal for the festival is to establish more of a presence in Ridgway of the famous movie and its star. The committee is seeking sculptures of John Wayne or Rooster Cogburn for a sculpture garden. Anyone interested in donating a sculpture should contact Erin at estadelman@ouraycountyco.gov or 970-275-6051.

The festival’s signature event is a Saturday afternoon Western concert. Debby Campbell, Glen Campbell’s oldest daughter who toured with him for 24 years, has agreed to perform. “We are very happy to have someone as accomplished as Debby as headliner for our inaugural concert,” said Becker-Doyle. Campbell has agreed to give interviews about her dad, his music and the festival. Contact MaryAnn Beaman at MBeaman@vegasexperience.com to arrange a conference.

In recognition of the John Wayne Cancer Foundation, and October as breast cancer awareness month, the festival is hosting a breast cancer fundraiser. Called the If the Hat Fits, Wear It brunch, the function will provide hats to cancer patients who have lost their hair. It will also feature portraits of survivors wearing hats, a hat fashion show and several songs performed by Debby Campbell.

Celebrities expected to attend the festival are Debby Campbell, Rick Weaver, and Ethan Wayne. Angie Dickinson and other Wayne family members have been invited to attend.

A new festival website has detailed descriptions of the events, sponsorship packages, and vendor registration information.  Follow the event links athttps://ridgwaycolorado.com.

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By Tucker Allmer - The BARN

Tucker Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.