HEMPSTEAD, Texas – There’s a value to everything in life, and the growth of the human spirit is treasured.
For members of the Waller County Fair Association, their annual fair and rodeo is a major part of life in the region northwest of downtown Houston. With the human spirit fully engaged, the association’s board has decided to push through for this year’s fair and rodeo, set for Saturday, Sept. 26-Saturday, Oct. 3, at the Waller County Fairgrounds in Hempstead.
“We fully comprehend the impact of the global pandemic,” said Matt Hyatt, chairman of the WCFA’s board. “What we also understand is that many things in our lives have been impacted beyond the coronavirus and that it is important to have our fair and rodeo.”
While there may be limitations associated with COVID-19, the Waller County Fair and Rodeo will look remarkably similar to previous years; much of that has to do with its spacious outdoor setting, but it’s also a sign of perseverance by a community.
“We just have to have our fair and rodeo,” said John Schluens, one of the association’s rodeo committee captains. “With so many regulations placed on us because of COVID, the people around here need that escape. We’ve had so many cancelations because of the pandemic; we just couldn’t cancel the biggest event in this county.”
The fair’s rodeo has been recognized as one of the best in the region, and organizers are expecting a tremendous turnout of competitors who are itching to take their shot at the money available.
“Every community has been impacted by this, but we’ve been very fortunate with the sponsors that have still come out and supported our event,” Hyatt said. “We’ve made the necessary adjustments, but we are moving forward in order to restore a sense of pride and a sense of normalcy to this community.
“The kids and parents have done everything they can. We need to provide the platform to finish the goal. Of course, if people can’t make it out this year, we look forward to having them back in 2021.”
The expo will kick off its eight-day run on opening Saturday with a bull riding and a freestyle bullfighting competition that begins at 7 p.m. Glen Templeton will follow with the first of four outdoor concerts that take place in the arena. Two days later, the annual Waller County Team Roping will take place.
On Tuesday, Sept. 29, eight of top 12 tie-down ropers will battle in the seventh annual Calf Roping Eliminator Match, which features a $10,000 purse. That action begins at 7 p.m. and will be followed by the Invitational Calf Roping. On Wednesday, Sept. 30, the inaugural WPRA Invitational Ladies Breakaway Roping feature most of the top female ropers in the game.
The PRCA rodeo will help wrap up a busy week of activities in Hempstead beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1-Saturday, Oct. 3. Each performance will be followed by a concert in the arena afterward, with Randall King opening the weekend on Thursday, followed by John Stork on Friday and Josh Ward on Saturday.
“We take a great deal of pride in what this community offers, and we want to give back,” Hyatt said. “It’s especially important to do that this year.
“Just like every profession, lots of people have been out of work, including contestants, pickup men, bullfighters, announcers and clowns. They are very appreciative to be in Hempstead this year.”