HEMPSTEAD, Texas – The Waller County Fair is more than a local gathering; it’s an exposition in every sense of the word.
Hempstead is a thriving community of 6,000 people just 50 miles northwest of downtown Houston. Over the course of nine days each fall, it’s a boomtown with loads of entertainment. That’s the way organizers have planned things since last fall, and it’s why so many people continue to make it a hotspot.
“Each year we work very hard to come up with a way to make our fair and rodeo even better than it was before,” said Clint Sciba, president of the Waller County Fair Association, a group of volunteers who produce the annual expo. “This year we’ve got lots of things that we’re excited to showcase.”
That’s just what fair-goers have come to expect out of the Waller County Fair, which kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, with a youth rodeo. That’s just the beginning of a spectacular bazaar, which will continue through Saturday, Oct. 4, at the Waller County Fairgrounds in Hempstead.
“We’ve added to our carnival area to allow Moore Amusements to bring in new and larger rides,” Sciba said. “We have added 400 new amps of power and 27,000 square feet to the area.
“We also have an additional three acres of parking behind the fairgrounds to help everyone get in and out as safe as possible. We want them to get inside the fairgrounds and have a good time every night they are here.”
There will be plenty of good times, from the rides to the displays to a variety of rodeo-related events to the concerts, which will have a Texas Music flavor.
“We are starting our concerts on our first Saturday after Bullmania with Jarrod Birmingham, followed by Cody Johnson,” Sciba said of the Sept. 27 lineup.
They will be followed by Phillip Griffin and Max Stalling on Thursday, Oct. 2; Jody Booth and Josh Ward on Friday, Oct. 3; and Bart Crow and Brandon Ryhder on Saturday, Oct. 4.
“We have invested in two big fans to the entertainment pavilion to help keep everyone comfortable,” Sciba said. “We want a person’s experience at the Waller County Fair to be exceptional.”
Rodeo fans will have numerous opportunities to enjoy the sport, whether it’s through the open ranch rodeo to the open team roping to the Waller County Team Roping on Sunday, Sept. 28. The highlight on Tuesday, Sept. 30, will be the Eliminator Match, featuring six of the top tie-down ropers in ProRodeo competing in a six-run shootout; that follows a tie-down and ladies breakaway roping event.
On Wednesday, Oct.1, there will be a youth 3D and an open 4D barrel race, and the ProRodeo will have its three-day run from Thursday, Oct. 2-Saturday, Oct. 4. The Friday, Oct. 3, rodeo performance will feature the 8 Second Bareback Shootout, featuring veteran Clint Cannon of Waller going head-to-head against newcomer Richmond Champion of The Woodlands – Cannon is a four-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier, and Champion is heading to his first NFR this year.
The Waller County Fair also is a showcase of animal athletic talent from Pete Carr Pro Rodeo, one of the top livestock producers in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Each of the past two seasons, Pete Carr has been nominated for PRCA Stock Contractor of the Year; last season, 27 Carr animals bucked at the NFR, a record number from one livestock producer at ProRodeo’s grand finale.
Of course, all of this revolves around one of the most exciting annual fairs in southeast Texas, which means there will be plenty of opportunities for great food, livestock shows and other exhibits.
“Our community continues to step up to support our fair and rodeo and all the events that go with it,” Sciba said. “We are working to continue improving everything at the fairgrounds, and our ultimate goal every year is to make sure we give back to the community through scholarships. We have given out $250,000 in scholarships over the last six years, so that is very important to us.”
It’s important to fair-goers, too. They continue to make the Waller County Fair a premier destination every fall.