Fair gets kick start on 1st Saturday

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Bull riding and freestyle bullfighting will be part of the opening Saturday of the Waller County Fair and Rodeo on Saturday, Sept. 25, at the Waller County Fairgrounds in Hempstead.

HEMPSTEAD, Texas – Getting off to a good start is the best way to win the race. In the case of the Waller County Fair and Rodeo, a good start ensures the potential success of the annual exposition.

Take Saturday, Sept. 25, for example. If the lineup of activities and acts is any indication of the 2021 fair and rodeo, then it should be an excellent time at the Waller County Fairgrounds in Hempstead.

At the rodeo arena, the night will be highlighted by the Extreme Bull Riding and Freestyle Bullfighting, which begins at 7:30 p.m. It will feature 20 bull riders in an invitational competition and eight professional bullfighters that will be matched with athletic and agile Mexican fighting bulls.

“We actually did this last year as a trial run, and it turned out really good,” said Paul Shollar, co-chairman of the Waller County Fair Board’s rodeo committee. “Sadie Lynn King will also come in and carry the flag during the national anthem on the back of a bull, and we will have her junior trick riders perform as an intermission act.

“We’ve got it set up to be a lot of fun. We’re going to have King String Bulls as our contractor, and I’m bringing in these Mexican fighting bulls from over from Louisiana. I think one of the coolest things is that we’re going to have Miles Hare as our judge for both the bull riding and the bullfights.”

Hare is a ProRodeo Hall of Fame inductee that fought bulls at the National Finals Rodeo six times during his storied career. He also is a two-time freestyle bullfighting world champion in the Wrangler Bullfight Tour.

But that’s not the only big-time action taking place at the fairgrounds. The opening Saturday will feature Kody West on stage at around 9 p.m., and Jon Wolfe will go on stage around 11 p.m.

“We are truly excited to bring Jon Wolfe and Kody West to the Waller County Fair,” said Sharon Burger, the entertainment committee chairwoman for the fair board. “Kody West is an up-and-coming artist, and Jon has been selling out concerts all over the state.”

All that makes for an enjoyable day at the regional exposition, but there’s an added local flavor that will be featured at the Wagon Wheel on the fairgrounds. Presley Phillips of Hempstead will be the featured artist.

“We watched this girl grow up and sing in talent shows around the county for years,” Burger said. “She was an exhibitor at our fair growing up and a member of the 4H. We are honored to have her back at the Wagon Wheel this year.

“Coming back from the fair we had last year and the pandemic, we are excited and thrilled to bring outdoor music venue back to Waller County.

After having a scaled-back version of the fair and rodeo in 2021, the fair board is planning a full-fledged campaign to bring as much joy to the region as possible this fall.

“We were one of the only fairs in southeast Texas that had a fair last year,” Shollar said. “We were pretty glad to continue to add the bull riding and bullfights to this year’s show and present it on our first Saturday. I think it will continue to be a hit.”


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