LOVINGTON, N.M. – Trey Kerby doesn’t remember the first time he attended the Lea County Fair and Rodeo.
He was a kid, and he’s been around the exposition all his life.
“As a kid, I rode in the parade on my horse,” said Kerby, now in his first year as a Lea County Fair Board member and chairman of the board’s rodeo committee. “Back then we had a grand entry for the rodeo. All the people got to weave around and make the circle.
“It has been a part of our life’s story. Every year you go to the fair and rodeo, and I just wanted to be part of it.”
He began is tour as a volunteer on the rodeo committee four years ago. It quickly advanced when he was appointed to the fair board. When board chairman Corey Helton named him to lead the rodeo committee, Kerby did just what a cowboy is supposed to do: He took the reins and has been charging forward ever since.
His work, and that of all the volunteers, will be on display during this year’s rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 9-Saturday, Aug. 12, at Jake McClure Arena; that also includes Lea County Xtreme Bulls, which is Tuesday, Aug. 8.
“I bring hard work to this committee,” he said. “I was raised to work hard for something you want to look good. I’m a rancher by trade. I deal with cowboys and horses. Rodeo is the fun stuff that you don’t normally do on your ranch.
“I also bring a young look to the fair and rodeo. I’m just 36 years old. We’ve been going 82 years and want to keep going. It’s come a long way since I was a kid. It’s quite a show now.”
That it is, with great concerts nearly every night and five nights of world-class cowboys and cowgirls in action. The Lea County Fair and Rodeo has become a regional expo. It takes a strong commitment from the Lea County Commission and a boatload of volunteers to make it happen.
“Volunteerism is real important,” Kerby said. “For us to put on a rodeo for 82 years, the fact that it’s all volunteer work says something to me. It’s not just the fair board. It’s all the committees and all those that aren’t even on committees that show up.
“We could not have this fair and rodeos without the volunteers we have. There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes. It takes two weeks, and they’re out there all day every day. It’s unbelievable the work that can be done through volunteers.”
Kerby knows that as well as anyone. It’s a pride thing, and he’s very proud of his hometown fair and rodeo.
Of course, he should be.