Come August, get ready to have a calendar handy, Custer County’s Fair events won’t be in their usual places. Brought on by a variety of reasons, the conversation on the street is producing mixed opinions. Change doesn’t come easy.
Some are brought on by finances, others by the challenge of gathering volunteers.
The Ag Society was faced with a year that ended with the organization having to make serious adjustments on their budget, reducing expenses and relooking at how to bring in additional revenue.
Personnel was reduced by one and one-half people, and a freeze implemented on remaining salaries.
“We had to do things differently,” said Leon Meyer, Fair Grounds manager.
“We are not going to get everything done, but we are getting a lot of folks who are saying they are willing to volunteer for a day here and there and that is really going to help.”
KCNI/KBBN stepped forward and volunteered to take over the organization of the parade, which was also a tremendous help.
Saturday will start at 5:30 p.m. with a Texico Country Talent Show, also organized and sponsored by KCNI/KBBN, with the winner earning the right to compete at regionals.
The parade (A Simpler Time) starts at 7 p.m.
“We’re going to try and make it as good as we can,” said Dave Birnie, KCNI/KBBN manager.
Here is where you will need a calendar for Saturday ...
Talent Show - 5:30 p.m.
Parade - 7 p.m.
Concert - 9 p.m.
The AG Society thought that by moving the concert to Saturday night they might be able to draw a bigger crowd.
“We’ve struggled for years with a dwindling attendance,” said Ag Society President Kevin Cooksley. “Saturday was always the preferred night.”
The Ag Society is in contract negotiations with PBR great, turned Nashville star Justin McBride as the headliner.
“He’s a local cowboy who made it big riding bulls and has now branched out into country music. We hope it will be a draw folks would like to attend,” said Cooksley.
The Ag Society will also open a beer garden for during the concert.
“A lot of other county fairs are doing the same thing and it’s working out for them,” said Meyer, “and when you haul out as many beer cans each year as we do that others are bringing in, we might as well make a profit.”
The Ranch Rodeo that used to be on Saturday now moves to Tuesday evening.
The BBQ Cookoff that was on Saturday now moves to the Fair Grounds on July16, at the same time as the DC Lynch Carnival, Crazy Daze and USTRC Roping.
“It will be a big weekend,” said Broken Bow Chamber Director Denise Russell.
“It was a board decision to move the Cookoff.”
She explained that with the Free Community BBQ on Monday night of Fair Week is a huge undertaking, and to precede that with the BBQ on Saturday was too much of a strain on the Chamber’s volunteer resources.
She added that last year was not financially successful enough to donate any moneys back into the community. The Fair BBQ feeds between 3,000 and 4,000 people each year.
Moving the BBQ Contest to July, Russell said, is something the board wants to try.
There will be a beer garden that same evening in the fenced in area by the Paddock building, with proceeds from the garden split between the Broken Bow Chamber and the Ag Society.
“The move will have to prove itself out,” said Russell. “We had too many businesses complain that the BBQ in the square blocked access to their doors, for too long of a stretch.”