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Happy Trails With Dawni O'Bryan: The Forever Honrary Kiowa County Fair Queen

By Dawni O'Bryan

September 14, 2022

Born to Merle and Carol Shalberg of Sheridan Lake, CO in 1967, Lori always had a love for horses. She was well-known for riding the beautiful Palomino gelding, “Cee Bar Pride”. Cee Bar and Lori made many appearances at the Kiowa County Fair as the reigning queen. The blond-haired cowgirl and Palomino horse would carry the United States flag around the arena for the national anthem and it was a breath-taking, lump-in-the-throat performance. Not just a parade or queen horse, the gelding ran a pretty good barrel pattern, was a calf horse, and was named the 1992 Goat Horse of the Year for the Central Rocky Mountain Region in college. Merle and Carol have always been great supporters of the fair and the western lifestyle. In memory of Lori, the couple sponsored the belt buckles for the five divisions of the Kiowa County Fun Day.

Lori was a stand-out athlete for the Plainview Hawks, carrying her team to state in both volleyball and basketball her senior year. The most prestigious award she received in 1986 was the Fred Steinmark Award, which recognizes one boy and one girl in the state of Colorado (in all classifications) for outstanding athletic contributions and outstanding scholastic achievements. I got to know Lori when she and I played basketball for the University of Southern Colorado women’s basketball team in Pueblo. She suffered a shoulder injury after one season and chose to transfer to Colorado State University, where she received her degree. While in college, Lori and Cee Bar decided to pursue a quest for the title of Miss Rodeo Colorado. She won the crown in 1990 and represented this area of the state at every large fair and parade around. She passed Cee Bar to her niece Brandy, who rode him until his retirement. He is buried at the Shalberg Ranch with a sign that honors his 35 years of life and service to this family.

After graduating from CSU, Lori became a firefighter for the Poudre Fire Department in Fort Collins. She was passionate about her job and loved what she did. She did her job wholeheartedly for 12 years. However, in 2001, Lori was diagnosed with a pseudotumor. This caused her to have brain tumor symptoms of headache, nausea, dizziness, and blurred vision due to the pressure on the brain. She eventually had to step down from the fire department due to this condition.

In 2013, Lori was diagnosed with colon cancer and she battled that in true cowgirl fashion. She had returned to Kiowa County and was an EMT, still serving her community the best she could. For five long years, she fought the cancer. She passed away in Eads at the hospital in October of 2018.

I have just always associated the Kiowa County Fair with Lori Shalberg and Cee Bar. By bringing such acclaim to this area of the state as an amazing ambassador for rodeo and the western lifestyle, I have dubbed her the forever honorary KCF queen. After visiting with her brother, Greg, it was apparent that the family was extremely proud of her, Cee Bar, and the things they accomplished in the life Lori lived.

Maybe our rodeo friends that have moved on to greener pastures are enjoying a queen ride and wave around the heavenly arena with the blonde duo.

Happy Trails.

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