Fair figures slightly off

Ricky Burns, 16, of Texico, places potted plants onto a trailer Sunday as he cleans up the Curry County Fairgrounds after the conclusion of this year’s fair. A little more than 27,000 people attended the fair this year, organizers say.

By Janet Bresenham

Curry County Fair Board president Buddy Vaughan said Sunday he and the many people who helped organize this year’s fair were pleased with how it went.
Although attendance was slightly down from last year’s fair, Vaughan said, it still showed an increase from the years prior to 2002, he said.
“We had a little bit over 27,000 people at this year’s fair. That was about 3,000 less than last year. It was still good, though,” he said.
“Last year, we had record attendance,” Vaughan said. “We had over 10,000 more people than usual last year, so our concern was whether we could maintain attendance. So, we’re happy about this year.”
One area that saw an increase this year was the midway, where more people rode the carnival rides than last year, Vaughan said.
“The carnival did about $5,000 more business this year,” he said.
Vaughan, who has served on the Fair Board since 1998, said another event that saw increased attendance was Youth Day on Saturday.
“This was our third year to have the Youth Day activities,” Vaughan said. “I think there’s a lot more kids this year. It just keeps growing and we get more and more volunteers to help with it.”
Activities offered to attract children included a coloring contest, a three-legged race, a milk drinking contest, face painting, a free throw contest, a hot shot contest, a sack race, a shoe relay, a buzz toss, a punt-pass-kick contest and the ever-popular Great American Turtle Race.
Longtime Curry County resident Wilma Fulgham said she thought the weather played a role in bringing people out to the fair.
“The weather was a good factor this year because it cooled off and was not extremely hot. Plus, I think there’s been a lot of interest from the general public in the fair.”
When it came time for one of the fair’s highlights — the annual Junior Livestock Sale on Friday night — this year’s sale didn’t measure up to last year’s, but it was close.
“I did hear some sellers say that prices were a little less than last year,” Fulgham said.
The unofficial total from this year’s Junior Livestock Sale was about $251,000, compared to $261,495 last year, according to Curry County Fair bookkeeper Peggy Burns.
But, how the fair is assessed really comes down to more than figures. It’s also about how much fairgoers enjoyed themselves.
“The fair was good this year,” said Casey Crist, 13, of Clovis, who spent most of his time showing livestock. “It’s fun. It was about the same as last year, but the competition was a lot harder this year.”
Courtland Luscombe, 13, of Texico said he, too, enjoyed this year’s fair.
“The rides were about the same as last year,” Luscombe said. “But this year’s fair was better because I got to show pigs.”
One of the new attractions at this year’s fair drew big crowds every night: Jeff Quattrocchi and his Swampmaster Gator Show — or, as many fairgoers called him, “the alligator man.”
“The alligator guy was neat,” Crist said. “I liked that.”
Another new event at this year’s Curry County Fair was the U.S. Calf Roping Association roping, which drew an estimated 350 ropers for two days of action Saturday and Sunday at the Mounted Patrol Arena.