By Dave Maxwell and Collin Anderson

“We’re getting better at this. I think it went really, really good,” said Lincoln County Fair co-manager Kathy Cook. “We’ve got a whole new board, new leadership, new ideas.”

The four-day fair was held Aug. 8-11 in Panaca at the rodeo grounds and is growing in popularity.

Cook said, “We had record crowds Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. Even the Saturday night rain and winds didn’t dampen our spirits or enthusiasm too much. Everybody hung on and stayed right there. That’s the western way of life.”

She commented, “Our motto this year was Country Pride, County Wide and the county sure lived up to it. We want to thank everyone who attended and supported us.”

At the commission meeting Aug. 13, County Commissioner Jared Brackenbury said the fair made money again this year.

“We’ve added new things every year,” Cook said. “Got more games going for the kids, started having featured entertainment Friday and Saturday evenings. Last year we had the Riata Ranch Cowgirls team, and this year we had Cowboy Clown Randee Munns of Utah, and he was a delight to the crowds. On Wednesday night we had the cowdog trials, always fun to watch, and Thursday morning was the Ranch Rodeo and in the evening, the Jackpot Barrel Racing, presented by Jamie Noyes of Ely.”

Cook said one of the main reasons the fair made money was in part due to the efforts of Connie Simkins, Christy Blood, and Haley Gloeckner. “We made almost three times the amount that we usually do. A lot of people helped, but those three were the ones that really spurred things along.”

This year’s festivities were especially notable since it was the 50th anniversary of the Lincoln County rodeo.

The events started with the selection of the rodeo royalty on Tuesday night. The selection process was made up of a question and answer section followed by a riding assessment, which helped to narrow down the possible candidates. The winners at the end of the night were crowned royalty and will hold that title for the next year. Those winners are: Lacey Steele as queen, with Raelee Christian as honorary queen attendant; Kailey Lee as princess, with Samantha Patrick as princess attendant; and Austyn Hale as tiny princess, with Adlee Robinson as tiny princess attendant.

The next few days were filled with a wide variety of activities that fairgoers could attend, among which were the cowdog trials, team roping, and mutton busting. Alongside the events of the fair, there was a craft fair held in Panaca, where locals were able to sell their wares. The exhibit hall was open as well, showing off finely-grown fruits and veggies as well as other crafts submitted by local talents, as well as an archeological exhibit, where children could observe the natural wonders of our own desert habitat.

Saturday morning saw the 4-H trap shoot, which was the best attended so far in the recent history of the event. Most of the shooting was done behind the exhibit hall, the area having been cleared out and prepared in advance by Lee Decker.

The main event was the rodeo that night, with cowboys of all kinds competing despite heavy winds and scattered showers.