News

A picture-perfect Fair

Perfect weather, better-than-expected auction highlights 34th annual biggest event
By MIKE BROWN Reporter Editor

Who needs the State Fair's Big Tex when Rockdale has Big Braden Wallis? The fourth-grader took in the ferris wheel during the nightly carnival. Who needs the State Fair's Big Tex when Rockdale has Big Braden Wallis? The fourth-grader took in the ferris wheel during the nightly carnival. About the only thing more perfect than the 34th Rockdale Fair's livestock auction sale over the weekend was the weather.

The sale raised $189,934.70 for Milam County's FFA and 4-H youth despite the complete shutdown of Alcoa's Rockdale Operations smelter and the ending of Sandow 5 power plant construction during the year.

"We can't possible say enough about the way the business community stepped up and supported the young people of our county," Billy Moreland, Rockdale Fair Association president, said.

"Last year at sale time, of course, Alcoa had just announced it was closing all the smelter," Moreland said. "But there were still 1,000 Sandow 5 workers.

"This year, the Alcoa smelter is totally shut down, Sandow 5 is built and that big work force is gone," he said. "But the business community still almost matched last year's sale."

'More support'

Cameron Junior FFA's Jonathan McAnulty poses with his grand champion steer, purchased by Luminant-Bechtel-Becon buyer's group for $11,790 plus $935 added money, $12,725 total. With McAnulty are (from left) Ivory Douglas, John Turner, Miss Texas Kristen Blair, Lori Fisher, Todd King, Miss Rockdale Fair Kassie Roddam and Presley Berry. Cameron Junior FFA's Jonathan McAnulty poses with his grand champion steer, purchased by Luminant-Bechtel-Becon buyer's group for $11,790 plus $935 added money, $12,725 total. With McAnulty are (from left) Ivory Douglas, John Turner, Miss Texas Kristen Blair, Lori Fisher, Todd King, Miss Rockdale Fair Kassie Roddam and Presley Berry. Moreland can make a case for the 2009 total being more impressive than the $196,390 raised last year.

"When you don't figure in the added money, the people in the sale ring Saturday contributed about $144,000," he said. "Last year that figure was $138,000.

"We've gotten more support from so many different people and businesses," he said. "I know everyone noticed that Luminant made a lot of purchases at the auction."

The $189,934 sale is the third highest in Fair history, behind $201,766 in 2007 and $196,390 last year.

The Fair unreeled under dry, cloudless skies with high temperatures in the low 70s and virtually no dust at Fair Park, thanks to rain earlier in the week.

Grand slam

Macenzie Salicos of Cameron goes head over heels for the harness jump. At right, Fair Association President Billy Moreland congratulates top RFA board member Glenda Wiley. Macenzie Salicos of Cameron goes head over heels for the harness jump. At right, Fair Association President Billy Moreland congratulates top RFA board member Glenda Wiley. Nobody had a better Fair than Jonathan McAnulty of the Cameron FFA.

He exhibited the grand champion steer and, for good measure, also showed the reserve champ.

Rules allow exhibitors to only sell one animal in the market show so McA nult y only sold the grand champion Saturday evening.

But one day earlier he had also won the Fair's commercial heifer show and sold his grand champ heifer Friday night.

McAnulty's two grand champs brought a total of $16,875.

Pageant moved

The 34th Fair was also notable for what didn't happen.

There was no Miss Rockdale Fair Queen, or children's pageant, on the Fair's Thursday night. Those events were moved to the Saturday before the Fair.

"I don't know if people have thought about it this way, but that move allows the young ladies involved in the pageant to show their own animals in the Thursday night livestock shows instead of having someone do it for them," Moreland said.

That meant Sarah Ferrara, second runner-up in the 2009 Miss Rockdale Fair Pageant, did get to show her lamb on Thursday.

And she won the grand and reserve championships in the market lamb show.

Cars, BBQ, rodeo

Old favorite events returned including classic and antique cars, a jam-packed "barbecue alley" for that competition and two nights of professional rodeo.

Head liners Jason Bola nd, Roger Creager and Rick Treviño entertained under the perfect "natural air conditioning" of the park's pavilion.

The home economics division drew 535 entries to the park's home demonstration clubhouse.

And Kristen Blair, Miss Texas 2009, was on hand everywhere from the morning Fair parade to the livestock show where she sang the national anthem.

"It all comes down to a lot of work by a lot of volunteers, many of whom never get seen by the public," Moreland said.

"They're what makes it work," he said. "This all happens because of them."

10 HIGHEST ROCKDALE
FAIR AUCTION TOTALS
2007 $201,766
2008 $196,390
2009 $189,934
2006 $180,279
2005 $146,830
2001 $145,037
1984 $141,900
2004 $141,448
2003 $140,573
2002 $125,549
Hot rodder Darryl Gayheart's 1952 Willys Aero Ace won best of show in Fair parade. Hot rodder Darryl Gayheart's 1952 Willys Aero Ace won best of show in Fair parade.

AT THE FAIR


AT THE FAIR
Event-by-event results for
BBQ cookoff, tractor pull,
horseshoes and washers,
parade, pet show, pig
scramble, ag mechanics, auto
show, and breeding meat
shows, 5A.
Rodeo photos, results, 9C.
Livestock show/sale, 2D-3D.
Home economics division, 5B.
Photo pages 7A, 7B, 8B and
10C, plus more throughout Pete Heintze handles this slippery swine. Pete Heintze handles this slippery swine.
this issue!

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2009-10-22 digital edition



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