The fairgrounds will once again be bustling next week as the annual fair swings open its doors, this year to the theme of “Sew it, Grow it, Show it”.
Visitors can expect to enjoy a range of familiar entertainments, says Fair Manager Carolyn Fowler, beginning with Top Guns Steele Roping on July 23 at noon. The ranch horse competition will be held on July 25 at 4 p.m., followed by the Style Revue at 6:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium.
These will be followed on July 26 with and ice cream social in the shade structure at 3:45 p.m. and then music and merriment at the arena. The Lazy L Band will be performing at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, a Gillette-based group performing everything from classic country to rock and blues.
If you feel tempted to share your own musical talent, you are invited to take part in a jam session for locals beforehand, beginning at 5 p.m.
On July 27, choose between games and activities at Family Fun Night from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., where kids can earn tickets to win prizes, and the second annual youth rough stock rodeo at the arena, officially titled the Wyatt J. Pillen Fun Days and Rodeo.
On Friday, start the day with free pancakes in the shade structure, prepared and served by the County Commissioners at 6:30 a.m., watch archery demonstrations from 4-H members from 2 to 4 p.m., browse the sweet treats at the chocolate dessert contest in the exhibit hall at 3 p.m. and then gear up for the much-awaited pig wrestling event. The Calcutta will begin at 5 p.m. to be followed an hour later by the contest itself.
After a bike relay sponsored by the Sundance Police Department at 8:30 a.m. in the elementary parking lot, the annual parade will make its way down Main Street on July 29 at 10 a.m., with the Car and Bike Show & Shine, featuring cash and plaque prizes, to be found in the high school parking lot from 11 a.m.
This year’s parade marshals are George and Vicki White, who have resided at the IPY Ranch near Devils Tower for over 30 years.
The Ranch Rodeo begins with a Calcutta at noon, followed half an hour later by the rodeo itself. The community is then welcomed to a barbecue at the shade structure at 3 p.m.
On Sunday, this year’s Rodeo Royalty will be crowned in the arena at 9 a.m. with the Youth Rodeo taking place at 10 a.m.
Please note that the Bulldog Olympics and Cow Pie Bingo that had been scheduled for July 28 will no longer be taking place.
“That has been cancelled as they couldn’t find enough kids to help do it,” says Fowler.
For littler fairgoers, Story Time with Miss Bonnie will be held in the shade structure on July 26 and 27 at 10:30 a.m. On both days, a bounce house and inflatable rock wall will be available for the kids from noon until 7 p.m., as will the Dozer’s Games game trailer.
“The little kids who don’t want to watch a sheep show can come out and play,” Fowler says.
For the first time this year, the fair also introduces Miss Bow’s Messy Mania.
“It’s a kid’s activity station,” says Fowler. “There’s a noodle station where they can play with noodles, a paper cutting station, music making and balloon animals and face painting.”
A painted rock contest will be held in the exhibit hall at 2 p.m. on July 28 and the Little People and Their Creatures show will be featured in the big barn at 3 p.m. the next day.
Exhibits and shows
This year’s contests will begin with the horse show in the arena on July 24 at 8:30 a.m. The poultry show will take place on July 26 at 8 a.m., with dog showmanship at 2 p.m. and the swine show at 5 p.m.
On July 27, the sheep and goat show will take place at 8 a.m. in the big barn, the cat show at 3 p.m. in the shade structure and the first fishing derby weigh-in at 5 p.m.
On July 28, the beef show and large animal round robin begin at 8 a.m. in the big barn, followed by the rabbit show at 1 p.m. and the small animal round robin in the poultry barn. The wool show will take place at 1:30 p.m. and the guinea pig and pocket pet show starts at 4:30 p.m.
The junior livestock sale is scheduled for 5 p.m. on July 29 along with the final fishing derby weigh-in.