Here comes the big Rockdale Fair

Reporter Editor

Conlee Conlee The 2011 Rockdale Fair and Rodeo ought to look a lot like the 2010 event Thursday through Saturday and that’s just fine with Rockdale Fair Association directors.

“We’ve got pretty much the same events on tap,” James Birkhead, RFA president, said. “The 2010 Fair was one of our most successful ever.”

The 2010 livestock sale netted $218,200 for Milam County FFA and 4-H youth, the largest sale to date in the Fair’s 35-year history.

And the two-night crowd of 15,000 was estimated to be the second largest crowd in Rockdale Fair history, topped only by the 1983 event with headliner George Strait.

“We’ve done a few spruce up things at the park,” Birkhead said. “Lots of the areas have new paint and we’ve made a couple of expansions at the show barn. There are some new electrical outlets, the horseshoe pit area has been repaired and there are more heifer pens.”

Campbell Campbell The 2011 Fair is coming after the hottest summer on record in Rockdale but the early weather forecast looks pleasant. “From what they’re telling us we’re probably going to have highs in the 70s,” Birkhead said.

SALES—Since the first Fair livestock auction in 1977, the effort has raised $3,586,615 for Milam County 4-H and FFA youth and organizers are hoping for another big total at the park’s auction barn at 6 p.m. Saturday.

“The Rockdale business community has always been fantastic about stepping up and supporting these youngsters,” Birkhead said.

ENTRIES UP—This year there will be 473 animals entered in the livestock show.

Entries include 59 turkeys, 37 steers, 59 lambs, 106 swine, 104 goats, 34 broilers and 74 rabbits.

The seventh commercial heifer show has drawn 20 pens.

Judging will be at 11:30 a.m. Friday with the sale at 1 p.m. Saturday.

MORE COMPETITION—The agricultural mechanics competition, in its fifth year, 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 fifth 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.

PARADE—Jocelyn Lewis, who has chronicled past fairs with her camera, will be on the other side of the lens Saturday, as grand marshal for the 10 a.m. downtown parade.

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 7 a.m.

Miss Texas, Kendall Morris of Ennis, 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.

The Fair children’s pageant was also held on Saturday. (See photos, page 6B.)

TRACTORS, PETS—A crowdpleaser 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.

The popular Fair Pet Show is at 2 p.m. Saturday underneath the park’s majestic oaks near the show barn.

Basset hounds will participate in the parade and be at the park Saturday afternoon.

CA R NI VA L—The carnival midway is up and rides, games and food booths will open at 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 12-noon on Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday.

“Ride all you want” armbandspecials are available for rides on three of the four days as follows:

Wednesday, Oct. 19—$20, 6 to 10 p.m. (only night with no park admission).

Thursday, Oct. 20—No wristbands, pay for individual rides, 6 to 10 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 21—$25 wristbands from 6 to 10 p.m. (carnival open from 5 to 11).

Saturday, Oct. 22—$25 wristbands from 6 to 10 p.m. (carnival open from 1 p.m. to midnight).

GREASED PIG—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 John Conlee (Saturday) and Craig Campbell (Friday).

The Nick Lawrence Band opens for Conlee and Shawn Jennings and Southern Roots for Campbell.

Thursday’s musical headliner is DJ Scott Leonard.

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.

TICKETS—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.

RODEOS— Cadillac Rodeo Company of Mexia, owned by Johnny Hoyle, is stock producer for the 2010 fair rodeo.

Rodeo action begins at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday with slack at 9 a.m. Saturday.

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.

There’s team roping at 7 p.m. Wednesday and open 4D barrel racing at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

ARTS & 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.

BBQ—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. and the 2010 cookoff represents a milestone.

CAR SHOW—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.

R I NGER S— 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.

PARKING—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.

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