It’s Fair time again in Rockdale

Headliners, rodeo, parade, auction and more
Reporter Editor

Steve Wariner and Sunny Sweeney are Saturday headliners. Steve Wariner and Sunny Sweeney are Saturday headliners. Four million anyone?

That’s the plateau the 2012 Rockdale Fair auction will attempt to reach Saturday evening and the odds are pretty good it will be achieved.

The 37th annual Rockdale Fair unreels Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Fair Park with bigname headliners, rodeo, parade, barbecue cookoff and much more.

In its first 35 years—there was no sale at the first Fair in 1976— the livestock auction has raised $3,870,513.52 for Milam County 4-H and FFA youth.

That means Saturday’s sale, set for 6 p.m. in the Fair Park auction barn, needs to raise just under $130,000 to top the $4-million all-time level.

The sale hasn’t been under $130,000 since 2003. Last year it was $207,020, second only to 2010’s record $218,200.

‘IMPRESSIVE’—“And that doesn’t count the other ways the Fair returns money to the youth of Milam County,” James Birkhead, Rockdale Fair Association president, said.

Restless Heart will take the stage at the Fair Park pavilion Friday, second day of the 2012 Fair. Restless Heart will take the stage at the Fair Park pavilion Friday, second day of the 2012 Fair. “When you add in the commercial heifer show, the auctioning of baked goods and ag mechanics winners and the RFA scholarships, that total is well over $4.3 million,” he said.

The RFA’s contributions don’t stop there.

“The association has donated over $1.5 million in land, permanent facilities and park improvements to the City of Rockdale at no cost to taxpayers.”

ENTRIES—This year there will be 461 animals entered in the livestock show.

Entries include 30 steers, 103 swine, 58 lambs, 74 goats, 62 turkeys, 87 rabbits and 47 broilers.

The seventh commercial heifer show has drawn 13 pens. Judging for that sale will be at 11:30 a.m. Friday with the sale at 1 p.m. Saturday.

The sale, now in its eighth year, brought in a record $59,715 in 2011.

MORE COMPETITION—The agricultural mechanics competition, in its sixth 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 sixth year, baked goods prepared by 4-H and FFA members, ages 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—The Pevine Hicks family will serve as grand marshals for the 10 a.m. Saturday downtown parade.

Hicks, a longtime Rockdale Fair Association volunteer, died July 12.

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 7:30 a.m.

Miss Texas, DaNae Couch 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, pages 1B and 6B.)

RODEO CELEBRITY—Hall of Fame rodeo cowboy clown Leon Coffee will be in the parade and participate in the rodeo Friday and Saturday.

Coffee, a native of Blanco, is recovering from a bout with spinal meningitis this summer.

Coffee, who now resides in Wimberley, has been a bullfighting, cowboy protecting, “man in the can” since 1969 and a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) since 1973.

Coffee, a United States Army veteran, has been featured in such movies as “8 Seconds”, “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” and “Jericho, 2001.”

He has worked the National Finals Rodeo for four decades and has many honors including PRCA Clown of the Year, Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame, and barrel man for many rodeo finals throughout the country.

Coffee celebrated his 58th birthday on Thursday (Oct. 11) and has been rodeoing since the age of nine.

AUTOGRAPHS—Coffee and Miss Texas will sign autographs in the Fair Park pavilion immediately after the parade.

Food booths and exhibits will be in operation at the park all day Friday and Saturday.

TRACTORS—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.

NO PET SHOW—The Fair’s Pet Show has been discontinued as of 2012.

CARNIVAL—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.

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 baked goods auction.

HEADLINERS—The Fair will feature music headliners Steve Wariner and guest star Sunny Sweeney (Saturday) and Restless Heart (Friday).

Todd Fritsch opens for Wariner and the Texas Unlimited Band for Restless Heart.

Thursday night will feature Full House Karaoke under the pavilion, with a chance for prizes.

Wariner has released 18 albums and three have gone gold.

He’s had 19 number one hits and 50 songs have made the county charts.

Acclaimed as one of the world’s great guitarists, he is one of only four musicians to be given the Certified Guitar Player Award by the legendary Chet Atkins.

Wariner has won four Grammys, most recently in 201o, and is a member of the Grand Old Opry.

Restless Heart was formed in 1984 and re-formed in 2003 after the departure of some of its original members.

The group has had six number one hits and placed 26 songs on the country charts.

HOME ECONOMICS—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 2012 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 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 2012 cookoff represents a milestone.

“We’ve expanded with utility hookups into the former horse barn area in the far southern end of the park and can now accommodate about 80 barbecue teams,” Birkhead said.

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 events are Saturday only.

RINGERS— Champions in horseshoe and washer competitions will be crowned Saturday at the pits near the park clubhouse.

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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