148th Nuckolls County Fair overcomes weather challenges

Drought, triple digit temps, thunder storms overcome


August 3, 2023

Some wondered what would happen at the Nuckolls County Fair. With extreme drought affecting much of Nuckolls County and heat index above 100, would people come?

Friday, Jean Sticka, longtime Nuckolls County Extension secretary, reported overall exhibits were up more than 200 entries.

“It feels like we are back to the old times before COVID,” she said.

Friday mid-afternoon, a cold front moved through the area and the temperature dropped 20 degrees. John Druba reported, “We had planned to stay home, but when the temperature dropped, I said to Cheryl, his wife, “Let’s go to the rodeo.”

It is often hot at the fair. This year, for the first time in recent decades, the animal exhibit building featured modern, easy to use features, which help exhibitors keep their animals comfortable. Even the show arena has huge fan circulating the air. Electrical hookups limit the need for extension cords and provide power for fans. Open sides provide air movement and water hookups provide a way to mist the animals.

The fair provides an annual way for the Nuckolls County agricultural community to connect. Neighbors visit as they eat one of the featured meals cooked by local organizations.

Each show varies. Those of common interest often sit quietly together along the sidelines. For example, more than 50 people watched the swine show with the heat index above 100 degrees. As usual the younger children play along the sidelines. A group of three practiced their roping skills using a dummy calf on wheels. Another group used their farm toys and were constructing roads in the shade of the show building around the miniature farm.

In the evening, rodeo fans comfortably filled the arena. Four bareback riders wowed Nuckolls County Rodeo audience Friday evening to open the 148th annual Nuckolls County Fair Rodeo as a cool gentle breeze drifted across the arena.

The second competitor came out of the shoot in great style, then appeared to be flying off one side as the horse bucked and circled tightly in front of the shoot. To the crowd’s surprise and delight, the rider pulled himself back into position and finished the ride. The crowd cheered and clapped.

As usual, the evening was full of both the expected and surprises. The top four break-away ropers all roped a calf in 2.6 seconds or less. During the two nights, it was rare for the steer wrestlers to to turn a steer, but Wyatt Hajny, a Nuckolls County competitor, did right in front of the grandstand.

For the first time, one could see a different live view of rodeo action on a large screen. Various advertisers were featured between contestants.


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