(Posted Feb. 8, 2023)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
A pig scramble, a pedal pull for adults, and autocross are new additions to this year’s Madison County Fair entertainment. Many favorite attractions are back, as well, from dirt drags to the demolition derby.
Fair week is set for July 8-15. The following is the schedule of evening entertainment as it stands at this time. Everything listed comes with the price of admission to the fair which is $10. Pit passes cost extra, and the cost varies by event.
Saturday, July 8
Broken Horn Rodeo is making its fourth appearance at the Madison County Fair. The Ripley, Ohio, outfit puts on a full lineup of events–saddle bronc riding, tie-down calf roping, bull riding, and more. Local amateur cowboys and cowgirls are encouraged to compete alongside the professionals.
“We’re also encouraging local participation in the shoot-dogging event. We didn’t have it last year, but we are bringing it back this year,” said Quinton Keeran, chair of the fairboard’s entertainment and experience committee.
Shoot dogging is an event just for amateurs. Participants can sign up the night of the rodeo. The concept is pretty straightforward: rodeo organizers let a steer out of the shoot, and entrants try to catch it.
Sunday, July 9
It’s been a long, long time since the fair last hosted a pig scramble, so the fairboard decided to resurrect the event. It’s the same idea as the shoot dogging event mentioned above: pigs are let loose in a ring, and entrants try to catch them. There will be age divisions. The rest of the details are being worked out, Keeran said.
The always popular kiddie tractor pull will take place on Sunday. This time around, the adults get to show off their might, too.
“We saw at the Ohio Fair Managers Convention that they have adult tractors. We thought we’d be missing out if we didn’t have an opportunity for the big kids to play, too,” Keeran said. “It will be something fun to have out in front of the entertainment pavilion.”
Also in the works for Sunday night is musical entertainment.
Monday, July 10
KOI Drag Racing out of Owenton, Ky., is returning to Madison County to put on dirt drag races. Anything goes–trucks, four-wheelers, SUVs, cars, lawnmowers–you name it, you bring it, you race it. Races will go on rain or shine.
“If we get rain, we’ll continue to use the track; we’ll just make it a mud run instead,” Keeran said.
Tuesday, July 11
Paulina Jayne will be back for her second appearance at the fair. The country music artist hails from Nashville, Tenn. Her latest single, “Big Hair Bigger Dreams,” was released at the end of last year.
Wednesday, July 12
The Ohio State Tractor Pullers Association, celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2023, is putting on this year’s truck pull at the fair. They will have several classes that will be attention getters, Keeran said.
“We’re hoping for vastly increased participation. We revamped the event and are working with the leading pulling company in the area,” he continued. “We hope to provide a show that’s entertaining for those who are interested in pro truck pulling and those just checking it out for the first time.”
Thursday, July 13
The track has been reserved on Thursday for the third annual Mason Cordell Memorial Motocross Race, coordinated by FastTraxx. Mason, son of Matt and Amanda Cordell, was a Madison-Plains High School student who passed away in 2019 as the result of a fall from his motocross bike.
The fairboard also is working on slating a musical act for Thursday night.
Friday, July 14
Autocross is new to the entertainment lineup and another opportunity for local residents to actively participate in the fair. The event is a timed racing competition. Drivers navigate a dirt course filled with hills and turns. All sorts of vehicles are eligible to race; entrants are placed in classes based on their vehicle types.
“We will have our course and class information set in the next couples of weeks, and rules and information will be on our website,” said Frances Hejduk of Derbydog Inc., the Mason, Ohio, business putting on the event.
The fairboard is “very sincerely” asking for community participation in this event, Keeran said. Watch for details at Derbydog Inc.
Saturday, July 15
In addition to putting on the autocross races, Derbydog is heading up the demolition derby, the event that brings fair week to a close each year.
“Demolition derby is a mainstay at almost every fair,” Hejduk said. “We will have four or five classes, including full-size, compact, and minivans. We will have powerwheels for the kids 3 to 9 years of age.”
Derbydog runs shows for county fairs in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.
With most of the evening entertainment firmed up, the fairboard is turning its attention to daytime and midway entertainment.
“We have a significant budget put together for that,” Keeran said. “Plans are being made for improved and enhanced midway entertainment. There will be folks exhibiting all kinds of crafts and talents.”
Games are planned, too. Some will be traditional fair fare and some will be new, he said.
“We are also actively seeking out new food vendors to bring variety,” Keeran stated.
The fairboard has already secured a ride company which will be on site July 10-15.