North Texas Daily

Fair brings money, community to Denton County

Fair brings money, community to Denton County

August 23
16:38 2012

Nadia Hill / Senior Staff

Nanci Kimmey moved into her RV on the North Texas State Fair grounds two days before the area was scheduled to come to life. Her neighbors included other members of the board of directors as well as mares and bulls preparing for nights under the lights.

The North Texas State Fair and Rodeo, which runs through Saturday, provides the Denton community with nine days of fried foods, carnival rides, show horses and bull riders.

“We work all year long to put this fair together,” Board of Directors Executive Assistant Nanci Kimmey said. “We’ve broken attendance records Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday compared to last year, and we’re already looking for what to improve for 2013.”

Now in its 84th year, the fair and rodeo was granted a historical designation by the State of Texas because of the historical, agricultural and economic impact it has on Denton County.

“The fair costs $75,000 per day to open, and it’s because of our sponsors we’re able to do this,” Kimmey said. “We turn around and bring in $4 million for the City of Denton and $7 million for the county in nine days, from booking hotel rooms to ticket costs to shopping and eating in Denton. We even have people from Europe come to this fair.”

Visitors to the North Texas State Fair and Rodeo take a spin on one of the event’s many rides. North Texas State Fairgrounds, 2217 N. Carroll Blvd. Photo by : Laura Gross

Besides pumping cold hard cash back into the Denton community, the fair contracts with Talley Entertainment who employs local carnival junkies to man the rides and games.

“You meet strange people, see strange things, but I enjoy making people smile,” game operator and employee Chad Rials said.

Rials has worked with Talley Entertainment and the fair for 26 years and knows all the tricks of his trade. His game involves knocking down four 2.5-pound stacked, cast aluminum pins with a 1-pound cloth ball by throwing the ball at the center of the structure.

“If people are smart enough to ask, we tell them how to win,” Rials said. “I see adults come up and try to get technical, but kids are usually the best because they’ll try anything. They come in and win a 7-foot banana, and they just light up.”

Kids participate beyond throwing balls at pins and taking rides on the Ferris wheel. An event called Mutton Bustin’ involves riding sheep in a similar fashion to bulls until the child cannot hold on any longer.

This particular event was one of the reasons the Williams family came back to the fair this year.

“We came here for the first time last year, and my son placed in the finals after a friend suggested we try it out,” Kenny Williams said. “It’s entry level, and it makes him feel like he’s a big guy.”

His 5-year-old son, Reed, ran over to his dad, hugged him and crawled back into the pen with the sheep.

“We’ve been to the state fair but this one ranks pretty up there,” Williams said. “I think, while Denton is big, it’s still rural, and people are still interested in the rodeo in this part of the country.”

Despite having more than 500 volunteers and 158 game and ride operators, the fair workers remain close.

“We want to keep this family,” Kimmey said. “It’s family-friendly, community-friendly, and we are a hands-on and working board for this community.”

Tickets for the rodeo are $5 for children and $15 for adults each day. For more information visit

Denton Fair Rodeo from NTDaily on Vimeo.

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