Fair kicks off good times
The 34th annual Fair unreels Thursday through Saturday with all the old favorites— rodeo, dances, parade and pageants.
Since the first Fair livestock auction in 1977, the effort has raised $3,177,931 for Milam County 4-H and FFA youth and organizers are hoping for another big total at the park's auction barn Saturday evening.
"We had a great sale last year," Billy Moreland, RFA president, said. "We're looking for another good effort in 2009. A lot of that money has gone toward sending our county youth to college."
Last year's sale was special. Just 19 days after Alcoa announced it was closing all of its Rockdale smelter the area business community contributed $194,940 in the sale.
That's the second highest Fair livestock auction total ever. Highest was $201,766.75 in 2007.
The top steers, swine, lambs, goats, broilers, turkeys and rabbits will be auctioned to the highest bidder, and for the benefit of 4-H and FFA youth, at 6 p.m. Saturday in the Fair show barn. A reception for potential buyers precedes the sale at 4 p.m. in the Patterson Civic Center.
This year there w ill be 341 animals entered in the livestock show, up 48 from the 293 entered in 2008.
The fifth commercial heifer show has drawn 10 entries. That compares to 13 last year. It will begin at 11:30 a.m. Friday at the show barn with the sale at 7 p.m.
The agricultural mechanics competition, in its third year, has drawn eight entries of wood and metal products made by area 4-H and FFA youth.
That competition will be held between the show barn livestock pens and the pavilion with judging at 11 a.m. Friday. Projects will be on display all weekend.
Also in its third year, baked goods prepared by 4-H and FFA members, aged eight through 18, will be sold during the Saturday livestock auction. Judging is at 10 a.m. Friday and grand and reserve champion items will be auctioned between the end of the livestock auction and the beginning of the pig scramble.
There are 125 entries, more than double the 60 entered last year.
Cecil and Marilyn Hicks, longtime Fair volunteers, will be grand marshals for the 10 a.m. Saturday downtown parade, according to Moreland.
Route is from the Green-Cameron (US 79) intersection down the highway to Wilcox, left on Wilcox to Mill and right on Mill through the park's main gate.
Parade registration begins at 8 a.m.
Miss Texas, Kristen Blair of Southlake, will be on hand for the Fair weekend but she's already been to Rockdale during the past week.
She emceed the Miss Rockdale Fair Queen Pageant Saturday at the high school auditorium.
That "extra" visit to Rockdale last week was sponsored by Bassler Energy Services/Miller and Kathie Bassler and Caffey Real Estate and Nationwide Insurance- Derek and Charles Caffey.
The Fair children's pageant was also held on Saturday. (See photos, page 8B.)
A crowd-pleaser in recent years, the garden tractor pull starts at 11 a.m. Saturday on the Fair Park horse track. It's being held under the supervision of the statewide Lone Star Garden Tractor Pullers Association.
Tractors are measured on how far they can pull a weighted sled with 7,000 pounds.
The popular Fair Pet Show is at 2 p.m. Saturday underneath the park's majestic oaks near the show barn.
There are categories for dogs, cats and "exotics."
Speaking of four-footed Fair participants, basset hounds will participate in the parade and be at the park Saturday afternoon.
The carnival midway is up and rides, games and food booths will open at 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 12-noon on both Friday and Saturday.
"Ride all you want" armbands specials are available for rides on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, w ith no armbands to be sold Thursday.
Several exhibits will be set up at the park through the weekend including a roping machine
The greased pig scramble, one of the Fair's liveliest events, follows the youth livestock auction at the show barn, beginning immediately after the new baked goods auction.
The Fair will feature music headliners Jason Boland and the Stragglers (Saturday) and Roger Creager (Friday).
Honeybrowne opens for Creager and Kenny Orts for Boland
Thursday is Tejano Band Night with headliner Rick Treviño following opening act Well Driven Nails.
Home economics check-in is already under way at the Fair Park clubhouse and ends at 9 a.m. Thursday. Judging in both the home economics and livestock divisions begins Thursday.
Baked goods division judging is from 10 a.m. to 12-noon Friday.
Browsers may view the exhibits during "non-judging" hours Friday and all day Saturday.
It's not too late to save on a season ticket, good for all Fair events over the big weekend. They are on sale at a variety of locations through Thursday.
Price is $20 for adults, $15 for children 8-12 and senior adults 55 and over. Children 7 and under are admitted free.
If you don't buy a season pass, adult ticket prices Friday and Saturday at the gate are $15, while children and senior citizen tickets are $10.
Action in the Rockdale Roping & Cutting club arena is already under way as team roping was held Sunday. 4D open barrel racing is the feature event at 8 p.m. Thursday.
Rodeo action begins at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday with slack at 9 a.m. Saturday. Cadillac Rodeo Company of Mexia will be the contractor.
Events include bareback and saddle bronc riding, calf roping, bull riding, team roping, steer wrestling, calf scramble, women's barrel racing and women's breakaway roping.
Arts and crafts
The park pavilion will turn into a "crafts mall" from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday with hundreds of items for sale.
Exhibitors may begin setting up at 7 a.m. and all are reminded to start cleaning up spaces promptly at 4 p.m., according to, Ruth Johnson, show chairperson.
Fair Park's "barbecue alley" will be the most aromatic around noon Saturday.
Dozens of cookoff teams will converge on the park Friday to prepare everything from brisket and chicken to more exotic delicacies.
Judging begins at noon with trophies to be awarded at 4 p.m. near the park clubhouse, according to Brady Nelson Jr., event chairman.
One Fair event that's really taken off in recent years is the classic and antique car show which last year drew hundreds of browsers to the park's northeast corner.
There will also be an antique tractor competition and exhibit near the Fair Park Clubhouse.
Both of those events are Saturday only.
More Champions in horseshoe and washer competition will be crowned Saturday at the pits just north of the Fair Park clubhouse.
Junior competition in both events begins at 11:30 a.m. with senior competition at 1:30 p.m.
Those little legs under Basset hounds will get a workout Saturday in the morning parade and then with afternoon races at the park.
Free public parking will be available across Walnut Street from the park and parking lot attendants will be on hand.
Handicapped parking is designated along Walnut St.
Rockdale Fair Schedule
Thursday, October 15
7 to 9 a.m. Commercial heifer check-in
12 noon-3 p.m. Home economics judging
9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. All market animals must be in place, no exceptions.
5:30 p.m. Judge market broilers followed by market turkeys
6 p.m. Carnival opens
7:30 p.m. Judge market lambs
8 p.m. 4D open barrel racing (negative Coggins required)
8 p.m.-midnight Tejano Band Night Dance, Fair Park Pavilion, Rick Treviño
with Well Driven Nails opening.
Friday, October 16
All day Food booths and commercial exhibits
8 a.m. Judge market rabbits followed by breeding rabbits; judge
8-10 a.m. Home economics baked goods check-in
10 a.m.-12 noon Judge baked goods
11 a.m. Judge ag mechanics; judge dair y goats and meat goat
11:30 a.m. Judge commercial heifers; judge market goats
12 noon Carnival opens (wrist band from 6 to 10 p.m.)
3:30 p.m. Judge market steers
4-5 p.m. Pick up baked goods
5:30 p.m. Commercial heifer buyer's reception, Patterson Civic
7 p.m. Commercial heifer sale, show barn
8 p.m. Rodeo, Cadillac Rodeo Company
8 p.m.-midnight Dance, Pavilion, Roger Creager with Honeybrowne opening
Saturday, October 17
All day Food booths and commercial exhibits
7 a.m. Parade registration begins; ar ts and crafts show star ts
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Home economics exhibits open
9 a.m. Rodeo slack
9:30 to 11 a.m. Registration for classic car show
10 a.m. Parade (downtown)
11 a.m. Lone Star Garden Tractor Pullers Association tractor pull
11:30 a.m. Junior horseshoe and washers pitching; classic and antique
car and antique tractor exhibits; basset hounds
12-noon Carnival opens; barbecue judging
1:30 p.m. Senior horseshoe and washer pitching; classic car show
2 p.m. Pet show
4 p.m. Award barbecue trophies; livestock auction buyer's
reception, Patterson Civic Center
4-5 p.m. Ar ts and crafts clear out
6 p.m. Youth auction sale; baked goods auction follows sale
8 p.m. Rodeo, Cadillac Rodeo Company
8:30 p.m. Pig scramble event, show barn
8:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Dance, Pavilion, Jason Boland and The Stragglers with
Kenny Or ts opening
Sunday, October 18
2 p.m. Fair Park cleanup
2-4 p.m. Home economics checkout and pickup
Monday, October 19
9 a.m.-5 p.m. Pick up home economics exhibits