NEW ARENA BLEACHERS GREET FAIR SPECTATORS
By John Teagarden
Linn County Fair and Rodeo spectators will be greeted by a complete new arena renovation at the 2013 fair. The 1950’s built wooden bleachers on pipe frames have been replaced by state of the art aluminum seating. Also a new energy efficient stadium lighting system has replaced the old lights that date back to the 1970’s.
“Obviously this is a HUGH improvement for our spectators, both comfort and safety wise”, stated fair board president Kelly Carbon, Mound City. The bleachers are a closed deck system that meets all industry codes as far as hand rails, handicap seating and safety fencing above the 10 row seats. Knee room between each row is increased 7 inches compared to the old bleachers.
The stadium type lighting system features 4 banks of lights on steel poles. The new lights will provide three times the brightness and for about 1/2 the energy use of the old system according to representatives of Musco Lighting , Des Moines, IA.
Fair officials have been concerned for several years about the aging of the old bleachers and lighting system and potential replacement costs according the Carbon. Last winter, with the help of county officials and legal counsel, a state statue was discovered that allows county commissioners to assess a tax levy up to 0.5 mil per year for long term capital improvements of county fairgrounds.
The estimated $325,000 of improvements are financed on a lease/purchase agreement. According to county officials, the 0.5 mil tax will cost an average household about $5 to $7 per year and less than 2 cents per acre on farm ground. Estimated pay off time is four years.
HISTORY OF 1950’S BLEACHERS RECALLED
By John Teagarden
When the previous arena bleachers were built on the Linn County Fairgrounds in the early 1950’s, they were undoubtedly “ahead of their time” in size and construction. Old historical pictures of the original fairground grandstand show a wooden structure possibly dating to the 1900-1910 years. The 1950’s bleachers were on a welded pipe frame and the largest in the area.
No written record of the 1950’s bleachers has been found by the present fair board. And the men that constructed the bleachers are no longer with us. However, a few “old timers” (me included) that were kids in that period can piece together bits of oral history regarding their construction.
O.R. “Cowboy” Richards is remembered as the lead welder on the project. Cowboy Richards was a both a horseshoer and welder, and he was good at both crafts. He probably used a pipe line welder with a hand crank starter. The salesmen that bid on the new aluminum grandstand this spring all commented on the strong design and quality welds on the 60 year old pipe frames.
Weaver Richards, Cleveland, Mo, is Cowboy Richard’s son. “I was only 1 or 2 years old when those bleachers were built, but I can remember Dad talking about the Mound City Rodeo and his pride in having a hand in building the bleachers and helping get the rodeo started”.
Cowboy Richards was living near Blue Mound at the time and had help from several men from that area. Brothers Eyman and Dale Cobbs, Bush City, speculate that their dad, Wayne Cobbs, and uncle Clair Cobbs, were on the crew along with Curly Wright and Charley Hogan. “All of these men were about the same age and interested in the rodeo”, recalls Dale Cobbs.
The 134 year old Linn County Fair, started in 1870, is passing another historical period in its evolution with the installation of new bleachers and lights. The local county fair remains one of the strongest fairs in Kansas because of decades and generations of dedication and support by the Linn County Fair community.
FREE ATTRACTIONS PLANNED FOR MIDWAY
By John Teagarden
Five free attractions are set for the 2013 Linn County Fair midway and arena. Two new events, the 1st Annual Car, Bike and Rock & Roll Show on Saturday, August 7th will be the Gospel Music Show, Rutlader Cowboy Church and Linn County Idol Contest.
Cars, Bikes and Rock & Roll Music
“New and exciting with tremendous potential” is how Car Show chairman Kevin Amer, Mound City described the car and bike show. The show will run from 10 am to 3 pm on Saturday, August 1. Tens classes of exhibits are planned, five for cars and five for bikes and motorcycles. The entrants will be judge the show with trophies for each class.
Live Rock & Roll music will be furnished by the Jason Kinney Band from 2pm to 6 pm. “A number of local businesses and individuals have joined in sponsoring trophies”, stated Kevin Amer. For complete show information go to www.linncountyfair.org.
Gospel Music Show
The Contemporary Gospel Music Show featuring Dusty Workman is Thursday, August 8 at 8:00 pm. This event will be preceded by the Ice Cream Social at 7:00 pm. Activities will be at the Blair Building on the midway.
Outpost Cowboy Church Band
The Rutlader Cowboy Church was formed at the Rutlader Outpost south of Louisburg, KS in September, 2008. The church, which meets on Tuesday evenings, has grown to nearly 150 members. Pastor Carl Garrett will conduct a Cowboy Church service at the Linn County Fair on Friday, August 7 beginning at 6:00 pm.
The ten member Outpost Cowboy Church Band will perform during the Cowboy Church Service. The band is lead by Tresa Mote, music director/minister. Tresa is also one of the pianist at Nall Ave Baptist Church in Prairie Village, KS and is rhythm guitar/keyboard player for a country band, Clover Road, out of Joplin, MO.
Make plans to attend the Linn County Fair August 1-8 and enjoy several of the free shows