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HoCo Fair & Livestock Show to use rodeo arena for first time in long time

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By John Balch

News-Leader staff

The old rodeo arena at the Howard County Fairgrounds is coming back to life this year and, for the first time in a long time, is expected to play a big role in the 2022 Howard County Fair & Livestock Show.

The fair and livestock show are set for Sept. 5-10 and a complete schedule of events will be published at a later date.

The arena lay dormant for many years, but thanks to the determined work of the fair board association and the need to revitalize the county fair, the arena will host a bull-riding event and ranch rodeo, according Sydney Reed, fair board secretary.

“It’s been a while,” Reed said about the use of the arena. She recalled having an event there about 10 years ago, but it was not associated with the fair.

Reed said many repairs have already been made to and around the arena, but there is more work to be done before September. A work day is planned at the arena on July 9, and the public is invited to lend a hand.

The ranch rodeo is set for Saturday morning during fair week at a time yet to be determined, and the bull-riding event will be held at 8:00 that night. Reed said the fair association is hoping for big turnouts at both events. 

For more information about the two events, contact volunteer Clay Farris (501-270-1868), who Reed said will oversee all things bull-riding and ranch rodeo.

Reed said the traditional midway carnival will return this year, and the vendor is expected to bring more fair food and bigger rides than last year. She said the fair association is also looking for talent to perform live at night during fair week.

The parade is being organized for fair week on Monday at 5 p.m. on Main Street. Again, Reed said, the fair association is hoping for lots of participants in this event.

Coming back this year will be the Livestock Beauty Pageant and the Dog Show, Reed said, as well as a new unique event that will raise money for the association’s scholarship fund called the Old Timers’ Show Challenge.

Reed explained challenges will be issued to older and/or former livestock participants to show an animal during the event. They can be nominated to do so for a $5 fee, but the catch is the nominee has to pay $20 if they do not want to participate.

The fair association will also reincorporate the Howard County Fair Beauty Pageant’s affiliation with the county fair this year. Reed said versions of the fair pageants have been held in the past years but those pageants had no connection to the county fair. Reed said Heather Brasel is spearheading the efforts to bring the pageants back and potential contestants should stayed tuned to the association’s Facebook page for more information.

Reed also reported that air conditioners have been ordered for the fair building and are expected to be installed before fair week.

The Howard County Fair Board Association officers include Mark Kitchens, president; Karter Castleberry, vice president; Sydney Reed, secretary; and John Raulerson, treasurer, with board members Beth Lamb, Tugi Myers, Bill Bean, Kaitlin Miller and Scott Hathcoat.

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