By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
It’s just around the corner—the Chase County Fair is only days away from the start of its 125th year.
Mirroring the longevity of its host community—Imperial—which also celebrated its 125th this summer, the fair is about ready to take off for its 125th run Sunday, Aug. 15, continuing for a full week until Aug. 22.
Fair Board President Dave Schilke said there have been a number of improvements made on the grounds and new events added again this year.
Fair-goers will notice the fair’s 125th year emblazoned on the T-shirts this year used at the frozen T-shirt contest Wednesday afternoon. Those shirts will also be offered among the prizes at the Lions bingo stand.
Schilke said the Kahuna Beach Party dance following the Aug. 20 Creedence Clearwater Revisited concert will be bigger and better than last year. The dance will be held right in the grandstand area where the concert is held.
The fair’s 45 corporate sponsors will have an expanded hospitality area this year, too, on both concert nights, Schilke noted. There are quite a few new sponsors this year, he said.
They’ve added seating for 50 to 60 more people in the hospitality area. Businesses and organizations donating $1,000 or more to the fair each year are recognized as corporate sponsors, and receive passes to the hospitality area.
That area was added two years ago to give special recognition to those sponsors, Schilke noted, whose contributions help the fair continue to maintain the grounds and make improvements.
The new bobtail truck show this year was added along with the other car shows that continue to grow each year, Schilke said.
This week, he said it looks like 30 to 40 bobtail trucks will be on display in the swimming pool parking lot, east of the fairgrounds, from 9 to 4 on Saturday.
The other popular shows that day include the corvette show, the Car Nutz Cruize-in car show and the motorcycle show. The corvette show expanded with another half block of street space this year.
The Farmer Olympics on Wednesday, Aug. 18, is also new for toddlers through adult ages, featuring competitive contests. Those in the “older” divisions will be competing in teams of two, and should have a team name, said organizers.
Livestock shows see some increases in numbers
The 4-H/FFA livestock, horse and dog/cat shows take center stage for much of the early part of fair week starting Sunday, Aug. 15.
Extension Educator Kimberly Cook said numbers are up in the swine and sheep shows, and a few more 4-H youths are also registered for the horse show. The number showing breeding heifers in the beef show are “up considerably,” she said.
It varies from fair to fair, but Cook said the increased participation in Chase County is likely due to new 4-H families.
“We have a number of new exhibitors in the swine and sheep areas this year,” she said.
As in years past, the beef show next Thursday, Aug. 19, has the largest contingent of 4-H and FFA youths participating with 35 total exhibitors. Broken down, it includes:
Thirty-three youths in the market beef division showing 39 animals.
Eighteen showing breeding heifers.
Seventeen in the stocker/feeder division.
Seven in the cow/calf division, and
Five showing bucket calves.
The swine show on Wednesday, Aug. 18, will draw 22 youths with 53 hogs in the various divisions.
Eighteen exhibitors will participate in next Wednesday’s sheep show, with 34 market lambs and including four exhibitors showing breeding ewes.
Kicking off the week of 4-H shows is Sunday’s 4-H horse show in the rodeo arena area, where 15 youths will compete in the show. That’s up slightly from last year’s 11 participants.
Ribbons and trophies will be awarded in halter, pleasure, horsemanship, trail, reining, poles and barrels divisions.
On Tuesday, Aug. 17, five youngsters will be showing their dogs and another three have cats in that 8 a.m. show in the open air auditorium.
Those attending the livestock shows in the show arena, and the animals themselves, will enjoy the addition of new ceiling fans this year, Fair Board President Schilke said. They were installed this week with funds raised in a 4-H project.
Livestock release day
One change 4-H and FFA livestock exhibitors will notice this year is the release day, which was moved to Sunday morning, Aug. 22, instead of the day before.
Extension Educator Cook said it is worth trying the Sunday release date. With the release date being Saturday morning in the past, all of the animals were gone from the display pens Saturday night, one of the biggest nights of the fair.
“Some people attending that night then miss seeing them,” she said.
“It’s certainly worth a try,” she said of the move.
The Sunday livestock release at 12:30 p.m. will coincide with the release of all the other open class, 4-H and FFA exhibits inside the building.