The Kiowa County Fair and Rodeo, held from September 7th to 10th, 2023, was a success, drawing attendees from all over the county, neighboring areas, and brought folks back to Kiowa County who grew up here. With the theme “A New Day, A Better Way,” this year’s fair was a testament to the dedication and hard work of the organizers and volunteers.
The fairgrounds came alive with the presence of 28 to 30 vendors, offering a wide array of goods and services. From food trucks to craft vendors, there was something for everyone to enjoy. Back by popular demand after a hiatus in the past years, there were two barbecues, hosted, prepared, and served by the Kiowa County staff who served a whopping 1,100 people according to Tina Adamson, Kiowa County Administrator. This was a significant achievement and a testament to the community spirit and appetite for the event.
Between exhibits in the community building and animal shows and sales under the pavilion, there was much going on, and much to take in through the week. Many young and old people alike have been working long and hard to prepare for the Kiowa County Fair where they could show off the product of their labors.
Ranch rodeo, bronc riding, and horse races are among the many events seen inside the arena. Two honorary horse races, in particular, honored the memory of those who are now gone but held a special place in the Kiowa County Fair, Rob Kelley and Larry and Susan Lusher.
Another of the key highlights of the Kiowa County Fair and Rodeo is the Fair Parade, which took place on Saturday morning. This year, the parade judges included the late Rob Kelley’s wife, Doris, and his son and daughter, adding a personal touch to the festivities. Parade Marshall’s, according to fair manager Donna Adame, were Monte Richardson and Gary Wollert.
Administrator, Tina Adamson, expressed her satisfaction with the fair’s overall performance. Attendance was on par with previous years, thanks in part to a new ticket sales process. Having a full board and a dedicated Fair Manager resulted in a smoother, less stressful event. Additionally, the Road & Bridge Foremen reported a successful year.
Several facility upgrades were completed this summer, enhancing the fair experience. The arena lighting was upgraded to energy-efficient LED fixtures, fans were added to the vendor areas under the grandstands, and electrical issues were addressed. Plans to replace grandstand seating and further upgrades to the electrical system are in the pipeline.
Keri DeWitt’s Dinosaur Encounter was a standout attraction at this year’s fair, delighting children and families. This addition, spearheaded by the late Rob Kelley, replaced the inflatables from previous years.
The fair community took a moment to remember Rob Kelley, who was deeply passionate about the Kiowa County Fair & Rodeo. His dedication to promoting the event and rekindling interest in it left a lasting legacy.
The Fair Board, consisting of Cody Fox (Chairman), Tabatha Ferris, Areta Laird, Kip Peck, Mikaheal Rogers, Trent Rittgers, and Kent Frazee, alongside Fair Manager Donna Adame and volunteer Gary Wollert, invested countless hours and effort into making the fair a success. The Commissioners and various county staff members also played crucial roles in organizing and executing the event.
The fair’s success extends beyond the organizers to encompass the entire community. From sponsors to spectators, vendors, parents, and grandparents supporting their children’s participation, the Kiowa County Fair and Rodeo truly embodies the spirit of a united community.
In the words of Fair Manager Donna Adame, “The success of the fair and rodeo isn’t merely measured by numbers; it’s about the enjoyment of all who attend. From the overwhelmingly positive feedback received, it’s clear that the 2023 Kiowa County Fair and Rodeo was a joyful and memorable event that brought the community together to celebrate “A New Day, A Better Way.”