County fair kicks off

CNJ staff photo: Kevin Wilson Elizabeth Thomas of the Clovis Evening Lions Club tells Ed Steven of Clovis, with daughter Megan Steven at right, the cost for his family’s entry Monday night at the Curry County Fair. Early attendants received cards for free samples from food vendors.

Kevin Wilson

The county fair is months of planning and work, followed by chaos organizers hope is controlled.

The chaos started anew, for the 91st time, Monday evening, with the Curry County Fairgrounds set for the week-long exhibition of food, games, livestock and local organizations manning booths.

“It’s been a good, hectic day for sure,” said Kevin Jolley, general manager of the Curry County Events Center, which will hold the second night of a ranch rodeo Tuesday, concerts throughout the week and the junior livestock sale 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Plenty of the standards remain, with new touches for 2011. In the Curry County Republican Party booth, Maggie Render was making the last adjustments on a pair of ceramic dolls. She made the dolls, and their detailed clothing, specifically for the fair.

Render, who has been part of the booth with her husband Richard “Rube” Render for the last nine years, said if you have a talent, the fair’s a perfect time to show it, even if the goal isn’t a best of show ribbon.

“I think the people of Clovis should support the fair,” Maggie Render said. “It’s for the county, I know, but I think the city (residents) should support it.”

Aside from the dolls and the candidate jar poll — a series of Mason jars, labeled with announced and potential 2012 GOP presidential candidates — the booth is much the same as in previous years, with the familiar place 20 feet away from the Curry County Democratic Party booth.

There are other cosmetic changes, as well, thanks to nine high school students. Over the summer, a $22,000 New Mexico Youth Conservation Corps grant was administered to hire area students. From the applicants, nine were selected — eight from Texico, one from Melrose — to build a series of pens.

Texico High shop teacher Terry Whitener, who was asked to supervise the summer program, said four 8-by-20 pens were built, with each pen containing 10 units.

“They’re made for the pigs and swine,” Whitener said, “and they’ll be used at the junior livestock sale on Friday night.”

Jolley was happy with the pens, especially since it means he won’t have to rent similar equipment from Roswell for the livestock sale. Whitener said there’s a chance up to three students will have animals displayed in the pens they helped build.

A small addition for Monday fairgoers, Jolley said, was a card that allowed everybody to get a free sample from each of the food vendors.

Also featured are Kicker Arena Cross on Friday and Saturday and a 3-on-3 basketball tournament Saturday morning.

“We take what the people in the area like,” Jolley said, “and try to add some of those things.”