COMMUNITY - "Ribbons, Rides and Rodeo - And Getting READY for the Fair"

Updated: Aug 21


BOX ELDER COUNTY - Ellen Cook, Headliner Media Specialist, August 13, 2022


The Box Elder County Fair and Golden Spike Rodeo has always been successful and in this county, success is spelled V.O.L.U.N.T.E.E.R. The 2022 event, the 97th year of celebrating the best of the best, with the theme, “Ribbons, Rides and Rodeo,” is sure to prove that statement true again, according to Fairgrounds Manager and Fair Board President Jan Rhodes.


As she and her crew prepare the buildings and grounds for the influx of people converging there August 22-27, Rhodes would like to add another “R” to the theme and knows it will take a village to get READY. Of course, there are the countess hours put in by fair directors and their committees before and during the event, those overseeing flowers to the fine arts, horse shows to handiwork, and livestock to live entertainment.


“All the volunteers who help put the fair on, who work in the Fine Arts, who take in entries, who run the sheep show and the beef show, the rodeo, they are the ones who make it happen,” Rhodes said. “There are a lot of people who are a part of this.”


But there are many behind the scenes who do much to add to the fair’s success, according to Rhodes. Groups and businesses who don’t always get the recognition they deserve.


Nucor is one of those businesses. While they are big employer in the Bear River Valley, they are a generous contributor to the success of the fair and the grounds.


“Nucor Steel and Nucor Building Systems has always been there when we needed them,” Rhodes said. The huge exhibit building and the much-used indoor area are prime examples of their contributions to fairground improvements.

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The large indoor arena, which doubles as the show barn and houses the beef during the fair went up in record time, thanks to Nucor Steel, Nucor Building Systems and Vulcraft, all businessesin the county to support the fair. Courtesy Photos


The new exhibit building, home of the Fine Arts displays at fairtime, as has multipurpose uses during the rest of the year, was constructed with help from Nucor and continues to benefit Box Elder County. Courtesy Photos

“When LuAnn Adams was county commissioner, she went to them and asked what they could do to help us get a nice exhibit building to put our Home Arts displays in, and then an athletic building at the same time. Then we were outgrowing the buildings for the livestock at the fair and so between Nucor Steel and Nucor Buildings, they came through,” Rhodes said. “I think they love the valley, and the valley loves them around here. They came through and got us two buildings in a very short amount of time. They were done in six months. That is quite a feat in itself. We appreciate the kind of support that would do something like that.”

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Added to that, Rhodes said, they step up again each year during the annual livestock auction. “You can always count on them to help,” she said.


Then there are businesses like C & J Welding in Tremonton who have come to offer their expertise on projects around the fairgrounds, or individuals and families who are willing to give their time.


"We have to be careful about who volunteers," Rhodes said, but will gladly accept help organized groups or those over 18.


In the past years, organizations like Bear River Athletics, 4-H clubs and church groups have painted fences, cleaned buildings and pulled weeds before the fair opened, and then showed up during fair week to empty garbage cans, wipe down tables and pick up trash. The Triumph Boys Home in Brigham City helped clean up the cabinets in the Fine Arts building and this year the Young Single Adults from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will lend a helping hand in that direction, as well.


“The 4-H groups come out and help us get ready for the fair,” Rhode added. “The FFA groups are a big help, too. The FFA kids come out year-round. All you have to do is ask and they are ready to be there serving.”

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4-Hers from around the county showed up at the fairgrounds on a Saturday before the fair to clean up the grounds. They will gather again when the fairgoers are back at home to clean up again. Fairgrounds Manager Jan Rhodes said it would be impossible to maintain the grounds without the help of good volunteers. Courtesy photos.

Last week, youth from both groups showed up to set up panels and pens that will soon see beef, lamb, hogs, goats, dairy cows, and much more. More assisted with trash pickup, making sure the fairgrounds will be in top shape for the anticipated crowds. It is help Rhodes appreciates and can always use.


Sadly, Rhodes said this year, volunteer hours are down some but she invites those who are looking to do a service project to look at the fairgrounds, especially now as the festivities are just weeks away.


Local businesses or groups who would like to be part of the “best fair anywhere,” through service projects, donated labor or volunteerism, are encouraged to contact her at 435-279-0106. There are still last-minute details to work on and plenty of fencing and railings to be painted.


“There are just four of us here and we couldn’t get done all that needs to be done without that volunteer help,” Rhodes said.

4-H youth were on cleanup duty after the fair ended last year. Service projects like this help keep Box Elder's fairgrounds in tiptop shape. Courtesy Photo