Callaway Fair attendance down

Despite lower numbers, livestock events a success

New to the Kingdom of Callaway County Fair this year was the mud bog held in the large arena Saturday night. A pair of bulldozers spent a good portion of Saturday morning and earlyafternoon digging "bogs" and building "hills" to be watered down in preparation for testing area trucks and drivers.

New to the Kingdom of Callaway County Fair this year was the mud bog held in the large arena Saturday night. A pair of bulldozers spent a good portion of Saturday morning and earlyafternoon digging "bogs" and building "hills" to be watered down in preparation for testing area trucks and drivers. Photo by Katherine Cummins.

After a move to put more of an emphasis on music failed to draw the crowds expected, organizers of the Kingdom of Callaway County Fair say they will return to a more tried-and-true schedule next year.

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(From left) Kenny Applebee and Trustin Baker have a warm-up jam before the Fiddle Contest at the Kingdom of Callaway County Fair Saturday afternoon. At the age of 13, Baker already has achieved success with fiddling, winning awards at the Missouri and Arkansas state competitions in 2011, and most recently at the Texas state competition in April.

“Our attendance was down,” Fair Board president Billy Spencer said when asked whether the 2012 fair had been a success. “Tuesday night we were right on with last year, Wednesday night we were pretty close, Thursday was about the same, Friday night we were way down, and Saturday was about normal.”

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The T&C Rodeo Company once again started off Saturday night at the Kingdom of Callaway County Fair with a mutton busting event in which children got the chance to ride a sheep through the gate like their older bull riding counterparts.

Although he said he believed the heat had more of an effect on attendance than anything else, Spencer said it also did not escape the board’s notice that the one night the numbers were down the most was the night they chose to switch out the usual second derby night to bring in a big band to perform in the large arena.

“As of now, the way the board is leaning to, we’re not going to go to a big band in the arena next year because it didn’t work for us,” Spencer said, noting the board met at the end of each night throughout the week to discuss how the day had gone. “We’ll move the music back to the Budweiser stage and stick with the local bands because they had more support with the local audience.”

As usual, Spencer said the local truck and antique tractor pulls on Tuesday night “stood out pretty good,” noting the truck pull in particular had “more entries than last year.”

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