By Janet Bresenham
Where else but the county fair can a contestant take a puppy, a fish, a kitten or even a stuffed animal and win a prize?
One of the highlights of the Roosevelt County Fair this was the assortment of children’s events Saturday afternoon, including the Kiwanis Pet Show, the stick horse race, dummy roping, goat branding and the turtle race.
During the Kiwanis Pet Show, every child received a blue ribbon for his or her pet and the judge was careful to point out something special about each one.
There was the “huggiest monkey” for one little girl’s stuffed animal. Another child received a ribbon for best spots on a butterfly. One dog received recognition for red toenails and another for the curliest tail. Still another was pointed out as being the most stubborn.
Tyler Lewis, 6, peeked out from under the brim of his cowboy hat and held the leash for his little black and white puppy, Scruffy, as they prepared for the pet show.
“It’s the first time Scruffy has been at the pet show, but I’ve been here before with a turtle,” Tyler said. “On Friday, I had three horses at the Youth Horse Show: Good Stuff, Lulu and Snapper, and Snapper won a ribbon.”
After the pet show, Jennifer Bolin, 15, took her 5-year-old sister Bailey’s dog Scamp for a walk while she checked out other exhibits and activities at the fair.
“I like the dancing,” she said. “That’s my favorite part because at the fair, it’s just friendly, family dances. And I like the rides.”
Music, food and the carnival rides seemed to be the big hits for many fair-goers.
“I’m going to have to say my favorite part of the fair is listening to the music and the rides and stuff,” Sam Rice, 11, said.
His sister, Sarah Rice, 7, grinned as she talked about the fun she had at the Roosevelt County Fair. “I like the Tilt-A-Wheel,” she said. “And I like the fair hot dogs.”
Their brother, Ben Rice, 8, said he likes nachos and a ride called the Gravitron.
“It’s big and spins around and gives you more gravity,” he said. “If you hold onto the rails and then let go, you can stand up and not fall down.”
For Allie Brooks of Portales, 15, music definitely became the highlight of the fair Saturday, when she won the local portion of the Colgate Country Showdown from among 17 other singers who traveled from as far as Albuquerque, Lubbock and Amarillo to compete.
Steve Rooney of KSEL Radio, which sponsored the local talent contest, said Brooks now goes on to the West Texas Fair and Rodeo in Abilene on Sept. 13. The winner there gets to compete in one of six regional finals across the nation, with the final six musicians singing for a chance at $100,000 and a recording contract.
But apart from the activities, some people enjoy just being at the fair and seeing friends.
“It’s my first time out here at the fair and it’s a good experience,” said Airman 1st Class Robert De La Cruz, who moved from Guam to his current assignment at Cannon Air Force Base. “Two thumbs up, Portales.”
Longtime Roosevelt County farmer C.M. Baker, 89, said he has been to quite a few county fairs and enjoys them all.
“One of the most important things about the fair is just the people getting together and sitting around visiting with one another,” Baker said.
Roosevelt County extension agent Floyd McAlister agreed.
“I like visiting neighbors you haven’t seen in a long time,” McAlister said. “And seeing the kids and what they’ve accomplished with the animals. It’s been a good fair.”