In June, rain poured into the Jasper County Fairgrounds by the South Skunk River in Colfax. The ground squished with each step, and the footing in the arenas wouldn’t support the hooves and boot heels of a rodeo.
The 1,500 to 2,000 people that the Jasper County Fair Board of Directors expected to attend the 2018 Jasper County Fair Round-Up and Rodeo would have done more damage to the site as they sunk into the mud and tore the roots from the grasses by the riverbank. Both livestock trailers and food trucks would have spun their tires in the muck as they navigated the area.
“There was so much water it was still like walking through a mud puddle down there all the time,” Alan Guy, committee chairman of the Jasper County Fair Round-Up and Rodeo, said. “Up until a week before fair in July, we still weren’t dry.”
Guy has spent quite a few days at the fairground, from his time growing up in FFA and 4-H clubs to serving of the board of directors.
For the past three years, Guy has helped organize the round up and rodeo that is quickly becoming a tradition to kick off fair season and summer, and he wasn’t going to allow rain to cancel its fourth installment.
After postponing the round up and rodeo, Guy and his committee of four picked up their phones and rang their stock contractor and their rodeo clown famous for his brightly striped socks, Jason “Whistle Nut” Dent, to coordinate schedules for a make-up date. The committee also had to contend with the fairgrounds’ calendar, which already had weekends blocked off for weddings, receptions and community functions.
“It was a hectic time,” Guy said, but the group has pulled each piece of the event together for Oct. 20. The gates will open at 5 p.m. and the rodeo will start at 7 p.m. Tickets for adults are $10, tickets for children ages six to 12 are $5, and children five years old and under will gain free admittance.
“The kids come out and have a great time. We want it to be something that’s super affordable and fun for families,” Guy said.
Rescheduling the rodeo also allowed the committee to combine the event with the Ty Carlson Memorial. Last year, a month after the 19-year-old bull rider and member of Iowa Central’s rodeo team died in a car accident, the Carlson family pulled together a rodeo to fund a scholarship in his honor. This year, Guy and his committee have coordinated with the family to dedicate the night’s bull riding to Carlson.
“We’ve really been humbled by their agreement to work together to make this as long-standing an impact as possible for everybody involved,” Guy said. "With that kind of pressure, you want to make sure you do it right. I don’t want Ty to become the backseat to this. I want this to be a really prominent part of the rodeo because it’s important that we have an impact on the community.”
With the help of the Carlsons, Guy and his committee have squared away the rodeo portion of the evening. They hope to have live music after the rodeo ends so people will stay and dance into the night.
Contact Phoebe Marie Brannock at 641-792-3221 ext. 6547 or firstname.lastname@example.org