Shout-out to volunteers |

Shout-out to volunteers

It’s high time for praise of all of the volunteers who run the county fairs and rodeos across the country. Volunteers make the world work. We are so used to volunteering, and so many do it, that we may not notice the workers nor the work that gets done.

Some people find volunteerism suits them so well that they do it their entire lives; others of us have already burned out. Many people who did not have time to volunteer when they were working full-time or caring for their families full-time, are now retired or at least slowed down to the point where they can “give back,” as they call it.

You’ve heard the expression concerning mothers, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” I would go one step further and say the hands that do the work and run the world in the heartland are volunteers. It doesn’t matter where your county fair is located the fair board is the planning group who oversees that the work gets done; in fact, the board members do much of the work themselves. Smaller, short-term opportunities to help could include a two-hour shift in the beer garden or putting wristbands on paid entrants. If you would like to help, find out who is chairman of the committee that interests you and let them know what you could do for them.

Cheyenne Frontier Days uses over 2,500 volunteers over the nine days of rodeo. Opportunities include helping with the maintenance of the park that consists of 100 acres, cleaning stalls, directing parking and traffic on the grounds, feeding the media and the public in the many food venues, helping to keep the livestock organized, and taking care of the horse-drawn wagons and buggies.

Events like these offer opportunities for groups to earn money that will carry them through the next year. One group at the Fall River County Fair in Edgemont that works so hard is the fair board. Though they oversee and volunteer at various fair events, one of their money makers for them is the food concession and beer garden. The facilities are all concrete, set up for low maintenance and shade. Several years ago, when a gas station was closing, one of the board members talked the owner into letting the fair concession stand have the large canopy that had protected gas customers from the elements, to install for permanent shade at the fair concession area. It brightened up that part of the fairgrounds and is a great boon for workers and customers alike.

Every area and event of any fair can use workers. Among the activities over the four days at Edgemont were a chuck wagon feed, rubber check race, two dances, mud hog wrestling, demolition derby, parade, junior jackpot play day, rodeo, 4-H livestock sale, 4-H rocket launches, 4-H Ag Olympics, and all manners of exhibits, animal to mineral, 4-H and open class. Someone has to be in charge of scheduling the arena and the fair building, the campground and commercial booths, setting up displays and answering questions.

As you see, there are opportunities for anyone, anywhere. Want to make a difference? Volunteer and you can help run the world.

Peggy Sanders


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