In June 16 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Editor
With the Spur-N-S Championship Rodeo and giveaways Saturday night, the 116th edition of the Russell County Jaycees Fair came to a rousing finish, according to Jaycees President Dwight Richards.
The fair, which began last Saturday, had something for everyone through its 8-day run and Richards said the preparation and hard work of the Jaycees paid off with another successful fair.
"We had a great week and couldn't have asked for better weather," Richards said. "We had good crowds every night and were up in attendance."
Saturday night, which was the fair's sendoff, proved to be the most attended night of the event, Richards said.
"It seemed more like 'days that have gone by' on Saturday night," he said. "There were a lot of people milling around the grove area. The seating was not totally full but we had a real good crowd for the rodeo and the carnival had a huge amount of people in it."
Richards said the Kid's Day events on Saturday morning also brought out dozens of youngsters that participated in a variety of games, races and challenges and the horse racing on Saturday afternoon brought back memories of past fairs. The Russell County Fair is one of the final fairs in the state to provide horse racing as one of its forms of entertainment.
"This year we had several entries," Richards said. "One of the main ones I really enjoy is the wagon race. I really get a kick out of watching those guys go around the track."
The winner of this year's Russell County Derby was I Be Cruising. The one mile thoroughbred race finished in 1 minute , 37 1/5 seconds. The winner was ridden by Everett Peralta and is owned by Jonathan Browder of Russell Springs. The winner received $1,000 and a blanket.
All in all, Richards said he and Fair Manager Robbie Morgan were pleased with the week as most events began on time.
"I think one of the largest problems we had, as far as our front gate this year, was because of the weather people were running later, trying to hold off until the sun went down so it would be a little cooler," he said. "The only problem was the heat."
Richards said numerous people told him it seemed like "the old-time fair" which occurred in August, because of the high temperatures and lack of rain.
"We had one day were we had a little shower but it never rained enough at the fairgrounds under the trees to even get the blacktop wet," he said.
The new addition to the fairgrounds this year, the 2,300 capacity grandstand, was greeted with open arms among fairgoers that had been asking for more seating since the old wooden grandstand was taken down several years ago.
"It was nice to have plenty of area to sit down," Richards said.
Among the more popular events at this year's fair were the small and large car demolition derbies, which took place earlier in the week.
"The hard part about demolition derbies these days are scrap prices are up so high and used cars are up so high that people are having trouble finding cars that they can afford to put in," Richards said. "So our cars were down but our crowds were up. Nothing we can control."
Richards also mentioned the mixed martial arts cage fighting event on Wednesday was another huge draw under the pavilion in the grove.
"It was standing room only that night," he said. "Our truck and tractor pulls were great each night and we had another good rodeo this year. Everything went real well."
The fair kicked off last Saturday with the baby show and beauty pageants, which were all well attended and had a good amount of entrants in each category.
"It is amazing the crowd that comes out for our pageants," he said. "That is one reason why we do this on the first Saturday before the carnival or anything."
Belle City Amusements again brought their carnival this year and Richards said the Jaycees were pleased with what they brought to the midway.
"We had one of the largest carnivals that I can remember," Richards said. "I'm not real sure we've ever had a larger carnival, it may have stretched out farther one year but I don't think we've ever had one larger."
Richards said he definitely wanted to thank Morgan for all his hard work managing the fair again this year.
"He's one of the top fair managers that I can remember," Richards said. "He's put in many long, strenuous hours. It is 24 hours a day for him with people calling him weeks before the fair even gets here.
"We also want to thank all of our sponsors, all of our advertisers and I want to thank all of our hard-working Jaycees for all the long hours they put in and most of all I want to thank the public for coming out," he said. "We had something at least one night of the week for everybody."