Fair is about youth, scholarship

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Having quality musical acts throughout the nine-day event is one of the innovative things associated with the Waller County Fair and Rodeo.
Having quality musical acts throughout the nine-day event is one of the innovative things associated with the Waller County Fair and Rodeo.

HEMPSTEAD, Texas – Members of the Waller County Fair Board are innovative.

They have to be, they believe, because they have an annual goal to give back. It’s not just providing the region with an excellent exposition that is the Waller County Fair and Rodeo, set for Saturday, Sept. 30-Saturday, Oct. 7.

No, it’s about meeting a mission of giving to youth and scholarship.

“We work to make sure we have a sturdy lineup for attractions,” said Dustin Standley, the fair board’s president. “We put on the PRCA Rodeo, which we keep adding to each year. But we’ve also been creative in other events we do, like the eliminators.”

That’s true. The first is the Tie-Down Roping Eliminator, which features eight cowboys with excellent pedigrees – combined, they have nearly 100 qualifications to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and 36 world championships. It will take place Tuesday, Oct. 4.

The following night will feature the Team Roping Eliminator; like Tuesday’s show, it will feature eight of the top teams in ProRodeo. All competitors will compete in the first round, with the slowest times being eliminated. That will continue in all subsequent rounds until champions are crowned each night.

Those are just two of the innovative events that are part of the nine-day exposition. While there are plenty of traditional fair favors, there is something special when it comes to the Waller County Fair and Rodeo. Part of the innovation is getting the right acts at the right time to perform during the concerts.

“This community looks forward to the concerts every year,” said Steven Pfeiffer, chairman of the Fair Board’s entertainment committee. “It’s something they can do with the carnival and the rodeo and everything else we have going on. The way we time it out, everything works together.

“For $15 to get in the gate, you get to see all these acts. You can’t go anywhere else and get that kind of entertainment for that kind of money. We want to get good bang for our buck.”

The concert lineup is spectacular, just as it has been for several years.

  • Jason Cassidy, Shenandoah and Wade Bowen on Saturday, Sept. 30
  • Rick Trevino on Thursday, Oct. 5
  • Kevin Robinson and The Voice’s 2016winner Sundance Head on Friday, Oct. 6
  • Glen Templeton and Josh Ward on Saturday, Oct. 7.

“Adding a third act to the first Saturday so we have three big-time acts allows us to start earlier,” Pfeiffer said. “We’re starting at 8:30 p.m. and going until 1 o’clock in the morning. It allows those that are a little older a chance to see Shenandoah hit the stage at 10 o’clock. They can stay if they want to see Wade Bowen, but it really gives us a chance to open it up to people of all ages to enjoy those concerts.”

The key, he said, it to continue the fair’s giving. Every director involved understands the value behind all the work they put in to make the Waller County Fair and Rodeo such a regional showcase.

“We do all these things because they are our successors,” Standley said of the youth. “If we don’t give them the platform for them to open their education, then we’re not doing them justice.

“We have to give them the pathway. If we don’t give them the structure, then they have the opportunity to stray away. We want them to succeed.”

That not only serves as the Waller County Fair and Rodeo’s mission, it is also a strong lesson in life.

“We give money away to benefit our Waller County high school kids,” Pfeiffer said. “We’re really proud of the scholarships, giving back to the community and seeing the kids’ hard work. Watching those kids go through the show ring or the sell ring is amazing to see.

“It truly makes me happy, makes me smile. That’s why I do this every year.”


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