LOVINGTON, N.M. – The Lea County Fair and Rodeo has a powerful history of amazing entertainment.
From the top-name acts that put on outstanding concerts every year to the carnival rides to the daily entertainment, fair-goers get a lot for their $7 admission price. There aren’t many places where a person can watch pigs race, be enthralled by a two-person acrobatics show and experience the comedy and talent of a ventriloquist.
But that’s the reality of the Lea County Fair and Rodeo, which will have daily entertainers from 5 p.m. to closing every night of the fair, from Aug. 2-10. This year’s lineup includes ventriloquist Kevin Johnson, the Equilibrium Circuis and the Ham Bone Express Pig Races.
“We try to find the things that will please the crowds,” said Dean Jackson, a member of the Lea County Fair Board.
Ham Bone Express is operated by the Borger family, and they bring their action and comedy show to Lovington from northwest Arkansas. It’s funny, fun to watch and fast-paced, and the Borgers claim to have “The Swiftest Swine Off the Line.” It has four races with four pigs in each race, and the master of ceremonies keeps the crowd involved by assigning cheering sections, with each section having a designated “rooter,” or cheerleader.
The special cheerleader of the winning pig is awarded a prize at the end of each race, while the winning animal receives a treat.
“They loved the pig races, so we wanted to bring that back,” Jackson said.
The tandem of Paz and Leah present the ancient circus art of hand-to-hand with quirky twists as they perform a number of tricks and stunts that may not be seen anywhere else. They also add a little heat to the equation in the form of fire.
The Equilibrium Circus features the award-winning duo, who show off their athletic talent and creativity. With more than 30 years of combined experience, they have appeared in film, television, theater, street performance and live events.
Johnson, who started ventriloquism at age 9, has a pretty good pedigree, too. He was self-taught, but he was drawn to entertaining quite naturally – his grandfather, Harley Noles, performed magic shows throughout Colorado and offered a spot in his lineup should Johnson develop his act well enough.
When Johnson was 13, he opened for his grandfather, performing for five minutes with a wooden puppet that his grandfather made him. Since then, he has appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “America’s Got Talent.”
When it all comes together, it’s just another reason why the Lea County Fair and Rodeo is one of the most happening places to be in New Mexico each summer. Of course, great entertainment at a great price always is attractive.