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Friday, July 29th, 2011

Fair opens with ATV, truck racing

New events added this year

By Jay Clouse
WAPAKONETA - It's that time of year when livestock, greasy food, rides and free entertainment can all be found in one place.
The 159th Auglaize County Fair opens Sunday.
"When people come out to the fair, there is going to be a wide variety of things to do," fair manager Fred Piehl said this week as crews and vendors finished last-minute preparations. "There is something for the whole family."
This year's event offers a couple of firsts for the fair. On Sunday, fairgoers can watch ATV and truck drag racing as part of the Extreme Truck Challenge beginning at 12:30 p.m. in the grandstands. Piehl said he expects the event to be popular among visitors.
"We had one this spring, and they had a major turnout," Piehl said. "We actually have to limit the entries for time, because so many people have an ATV and would like to participate."
After drag racing, the challenge concludes with the Tug A Truck, which involves two trucks being chained together and trying to pull each other in opposite directions, he said.
On Tuesday, a pig and calf scramble will be held in the horse arena. According to Piehl, this is the first scramble to be held at the fair in recent memory, and a large number of participants have already registered.
"We were shooting for 100 (participants), and we got that," he said. "It's worked out real good."
Participants, ages 11-18, will be placed in the arena with several pigs or calves and must try to capture the animal by the neck with a rope halter. The participant then must successfully lead the animal into the winner's circle.
"It's going to be a lot of fun," Piehl said.
Piehl said the fair is hosting a different ride company this year. Burton Brothers Amusements, based out of Shirley, Ind., will offer the Power Surge, Swing-it, Ali Baba, Octopus, Gravitron and more.
"The midway is a big part of the fair," he said.
As always, Piehl said the fair boasts a wealth of livestock.
"We have one of the largest displays of animals around for a Junior Fair," he said. "You name it, we have it."
Piehl continued to say that the fair board has had to work hard to make sure there is enough space for all the animals.
"The kids put in a lot of work this year. It hustles the fair board to keep up with everything," he said.
Pre-fair judging began last week.
"Kids have to know a lot about their animal besides just walking it around the arena," Piehl said. "They have to know about the feed and care of the animal."
Other popular events include the cheerleading competition, wrestling and demolition derby.
The Mike Swaney Free Entertainment Tent and the Gospel Tent will be offering free entertainment all week too, he said.
"Our Gospel tent is next to none. There is top-notch entertainment from day one, and it is free," Piehl said.
Piehl said barring any inclement weather, he expects an extremely good week.
"We have good ole' fair food and a little bit of something different you just can't get anywhere else," Piehl said.

Schedule of events:
Sunday
•  10 a.m. - horticulture, canned good and baked goods show (horticulture building)
•  12:30 p.m. - horseshoe pitch tournament
•  12:30 p.m. - ATV drag racing as part of the Extreme Truck Challenge (grandstand)
•  1-4 p.m. - Children Choosing Christ (gospel tent)
•  4 p.m. - truck drag racing as part of the Extreme Truck Challenge
•  5 p.m. - corn hole tournament (Mike Swaney Entertainment Tent)
•  5, 7, 9 p.m. - Mike Bishop Comedy Hypnotist (kids tent)
•  6 p.m. - Truck Wars (grandstand)
•  6 p.m. - first place and best of show cake auction (kids tent)
•  7-8:30 p.m. - Crackerjax (Mike Swaney Entertainment Tent)
•  7:30 pm. - Just Us Quartet (gospel tent)
•  8:30 - Flight Risk (Mike Swaney Entertainment Tent)

Monday
•  Noon - ribbon cutting (front gate)
•  5, 7 ,9 p.m. - Mike Bishop Comedy Hypnotist (kids tent)
•  6:30 p.m. - horseshoe pitch tournament
•  7 p.m. - Junior Fair king and queen coronation
•  7:30 p.m. - Triumphant Quartet (gospel tent)
•  7:30 p.m. - cheerleading contest (grandstand)
•  8 p.m. - Duh Band (Mike Swaney Entertainment Tent
A full schedule of events can be found at www.auglaizecountyfair.org.
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