LOVINGTON, N.M. – There’s a reason why the Lea County Fair and Rodeo is considered one of the very best expositions in New Mexico: local organizers work hard to put as much action into the 10-day event as possible.
The 2013 edition promises to hold up to that standard, if not set a new one. You see, the six-night concert lineup is exquisite, and other expo organizers will be plenty envious of the Lea County Fair Board because of it.
“This may be the best concert lineup we’ve had,” said Dean Jackson, now in his eighth year on the fair board. “We’ve had some good ones, but I’m really excited about this year’s lineup.”
From the Texas Jamm Band featuring members of George Strait’s Ace in the Hole Band on Aug. 2 to Josh Turner’s show closing the fair on Aug. 10, there will be great music each day.
“We’ve expanded our concert area this year because we’ve just needed to for some time,” Jackson said, noting that the concerts will begin at 9:30 p.m. each night. “We tore out the restrooms that were right on the west side of the bleachers, and we built a new big rest room and concession stand on the south fence. That allowed us to open more room.
“It was getting to the point where we didn’t have any more room.”
For most of the exposition, there will be incredible musical tones reverberating from the concert area. The Texas Jamm Band featuring members of George Strait’s Ace in the Hole Band began as a jam session and turned into a successful honky-tonk band with seasoned musicians. This past December marked the sixth straight year the group has played in Las Vegas during the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. They will kick start the celebration at 9:30 p.m. the first Saturday. The other five concerts will begin around 9:30, shortly after the conclusion of the rodeo.
Morgan Frazier will rock the concert stage with the Randy Rogers Band on Tuesday, Aug. 6, following the Xtreme Bulls Tour event at Jake McClure Arena.
“We thought that would be a great night for the bull riding, Morgan Frazier and Randy Rogers,” Jackson said. “Morgan is a new artist that we heard in Vegas, and she was awesome. Plus her brother lives in Hobbs.”
The opening performance of the ProRodeo will be part of the fair’s Family Night, and Christian artist Jeremy Camp will perform Wednesday, Aug. 7.
“He’s been hot for a while,” Jackson said. “When we finally got booked, everyone was really excited about it.”
The Josh Abbott Band, a group highlighted by the singer-songwriter, will bring a little Texas country to the stage Thursday, Aug. 8, opening the weekend for nationally known artists Sara Evans on Friday, Aug. 9, and Josh Turner on Saturday, Aug. 10.
“We’re sticking with a country lineup this year, and I think it’s something the people of Lea County are going to love,” Jackson said. “Having Sara Evans, with her years of great music and her time on ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ is just great.
“Having Josh Turner to close the fair is just incredible. After last year, I didn’t think we could improve our concerts, but I think we have.”