HEMPSTEAD, Texas – People are always looking for the best deals, the most obvious bang for their bucks when it comes to being entertained.
With a $10 admission, there’s not a greater value than the Waller County Fair and Rodeo. Whether it’s the rodeo, the carnival, the livestock shows or the concerts, a great deal is packed into the nine-day exposition, set for Friday, Sept. 27-Saturday, Oct. 5, at the Waller County Fairgrounds in Hempstead.
“Our fair and rodeo is about our community, and we want everybody to be able to afford all the fun we have going on,” said Matt Hyatt, president of the Waller County Fair Board. “We want to keep the price to where it’s a good deal for families to enjoy it. The fair and rodeo only comes around once a year, so it’s important that we do that.”
The rodeo arena is an active place for eight of the nine nights, opening with a Waller Youth Rough Stock Rodeo and closing with three nights of the top PRCA contestants in the country battling for big money.
In between, there will be the Ladies Ranch Rodeo, the Waller County Team Roping, and two Eliminator events (tie-down roping on Tuesday, Oct. 1, and team roping on Wednesday, Oct. 2) – both Eliminators begin with eight contestants/teams, with the slowest times in each round being eliminated until the eventual champion is crowned.
“We’ve known for years that rodeo is big in this part of the country,” said Clint Sciba, chairman of the fair board’s rodeo committee. “We have a lot of ropers in Waller County, which is why we came up with the Eliminators, and we have people who just love to watch the action.”
But there’s so much more, including 10 musical acts of various genres that will hit the heart strings of live-music fans of all ages – from newcomers like Katy resident Hayden Baker to top-selling artists like Gene Watson and Restless Heart.
- Saturday, Sept. 28: Cody Wayne, 7:30 p.m.; Gene Watson, 9:30 p.m.; Kyle Park, 11:30 p.m.
- Thursday, Oct. 3: Jeff Woolsey, 8 p.m.
- Friday, Oct. 4: Hayden Baker, 7 p.m.; Tanner Fenoglio, 8:30 p.m.; Jason Boland and the Stragglers, 10:30 p.m.
- Saturday, Oct. 5: Kris Jones, 8 p.m.; Jarrod Birmingham, 9:30 p.m.; Restless Heart, 11:30 p.m.
“We are also going to have dueling pianos on the first Friday night (Sept. 27) as part of our kickoff party,” Hyatt said.
The popular carnival will start it’s four-day run beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, then will start the rides at 1 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday. As it has for several years, Moore Amusements will have plenty of rides for fairgoers of all ages.
New to this year’s schedule is the Waller County Welding Competition, a Texas High School Welding Series event beginning at 7 a.m. on the opening Saturday, Sept. 28.
“That series goes all over our area, and we’re hosting one this year,” Hyatt said. “We’ll probably have 300-400 kids there. It’s just one of the new things we have going on. We’re also going to have an app on your phone that will help everyone know what’s going on.
“We are also revamping our vendors, moving more to food trucks and food trailers.”