County fair, rodeo kick off

Rodeo season is coming to town as the 2015 Walker County Fair and Rodeo kicks off tomorrow.

Kelsey Christian, Sam Houston State University assistant director of alumni clubs and constituent programs, serves on the executive board of the Walker County Fair Association. Christian is also the chairman of the advertising committee and serves as non-livestock secretary.

Christian said that SHSU students often get involved in the local events and are encouraged to take part in all the fair has to offer.

“I know there are several students who volunteer throughout the year for the fair,” Christian said. “We encourage students to attend all fair events. This year we will have a Kick-Off Concert on Friday, April 3 featuring The Josh Ward Band.”

Admission to the concert is included with paid admission to the fairgrounds.

Christian said the rodeo is always a hit and draws a crowd.

“There will be two high energy performances of the PRCA Rodeo on Friday, April 3 and on Saturday, April 4,” Christian said. “Both rodeos start at 7:30 p.m. There will be livestock shows, musical entertainment throughout the week, along with a carnival and all your fair favorites. The fair will finish out with a BBQ Cook-Off on Friday, April 10.”

Lee Baird, chairman of the BBQ and Chili Cook-Off Competition, said the contest dates back nearly three decades and continues to draw a variety of participants for each category.

“As of now we have 61 teams so far this year,” Baird said. “The overall winner gets $10 per brisket entry, with 61 teams its $610 at this point, they also get a 5-foot trophy and next years entry paid. We do give trophy’s for the top three in each category.”

Mutton Bustin is a friendly competition that seeks children as participants. Bob Stoudt is heading up the event this year and explained the parameters of the event.

“This event is for children ages four to six and weigh no more than 55 pounds,” Stoudt said. “There is a $20 registration fee which covers all the safety equipment. The event is held on April 4th, 2015 in the main show arena of the Walker County Fairgrounds. This is an event that people of all ages enjoy and it takes place after the Opening Ceremonies for the 2015 Fair.”

Another notable event of the fair is the Country Music Star contest. Founder of the contest Steve Fox said a variety of methods decide the winner.

“It is a singing contest for solo and duet acts judged by three local judges and a guest judge – a Texas Music artist,” Fox said. “Each year contestants audition before the show, and 12-20 singers make the semi-finals show on Saturday April 4. Each contestant sings one song and the judges and audience vote and narrow it down to the top finalists who perform on Saturday.”

Fox said the contest welcomes local participants and the winners will receive noteworthy prizes in conjunction to local fame.

“First place wins $400, a professionally recorded single and an autographed guitar signed by Texas artists,” Fox said. “Second and Third place win cash and prizes as well. There are no age restrictions and contestants must be Walker county residents and SHSU students are eligible to compete.”

Walker County resident Shawn Sanderson has made it through the preliminary rounds and will be center stage to compete in the Country Music Star Show. Sanderson said his passion stems from his father who has previously made a good showing at the competition.

“My dad has been a big influence on my passion for music,” Sanderson said. “He taught me how to play guitar and we have always sang together from the time I was growing up. He is actually the one that got me involved in the contest, he got second place last year.”

This years attractions will include a carnival and a petting zoo. Other notable events include a dominoes tournament, Little Tykes Rodeo, and the Prince and Princess contest.

The fair and rodeo start tomorrow and run daily through April 11.

Ticket prices and a full list of events can be found at

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