The Roundup -

McKenzie County Fair: A Tradition of Fun, 4-H and Rodeo


Cotton candy. Hot dogs. Folks tempting you to step right up and win a prize. Youth chaotically running with tickets in hand from one ride to the next. Chills, screams and genuine laughter. Must be fair time!

For McKenzie County Fair Board members and volunteers, its crunch time as they are busily preparing for the annual fair taking place at the fairgrounds east of Watford City July 11-14.

This year’s theme is “Bring out the Kid in You.”

“The board thought this was a very appropriate theme because fairs are all about enjoying the simple pleasures of being young and silly. We want people to come to the fair and enjoy themselves,” said Janel Lee, a board member.

General admission is a $5 button and it is good for all three days.

Some of the entertainment highlights include a rodeo, carnival, Curly the Clown and Funtastic Kid Zone, the Olaf Leiseth Jr. Memorial Draft Horse Competition, Pinewood Derby Car Races, demolition derby, KIDDYUP Goat roping and youth lil’ buckaroo rodeos.

Funtime Carnival Company, of Payette, Idaho will be supplying 24 attractions ranging from kiddie rides to whizzing and whirling rides, midway games and carnival food.

This year, new entertainment is on the venue and features NASCAR Remote Control Racing and Sports Zone. A 25 foot inflatable archway will beckon those with a need for speed to try their hand at racing through the small track in an attempt to speed past the competition to the finish line.

“We’re pretty excited about this year. We have some really good entertainment lined up. With so many new members in the community we really wanted to create an experience for them and for everybody that really showcases what Watford City and our area is all about. There are a lot of young people who are going to be here and we wanted to offer them a great fair experience this year,” said Tim Nelson, President of the fair board.

The traditional free beef barbecue is available to everyone wearing admission buttons and takes place on July 12.

For folks who have never witnessed a draft horse competition, the excitement of watching the massive equine participate in a type of ag-olympics will offer excitement and awe. The annual competition is named after Olaf Leiseth, a long time draft horse teamster and member of the Long X Wagon Team.

Foot traffic at the local junkyard may have increased as drivers prospect for sturdy cars to enter into the third annual demolition derby which will feature drivers smashing vehicles into their opponents as they attempt to leave the arena with the last vehicle running.

Traditionally, the fair has played host to an extensive 4-H youth lineup of livestock showing.

“Our city has always been very big on promoting and supporting our 4-H youth program and its members. McKenzie County has a large program and we like to get our youth involved and keep them active by including their livestock showings and activities in the fair events,” Lee said.

July 11 kicks off the four days of fun with 4-H activities starting at 10:00 a.m. and lasting throughout the evening.

On Thursday, July 12, 4-H exhibits for swine, goat, sheep, beef breeding and market beef will take place until 10:45 a.m. with judging of the open class taking place throughout the day.

Curly’s Funtastic Kid Zone opens at 11:00 a.m. and Ice Cream in a Bag is back by popular demand with limited sessions at both 2:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

The fair parade will make its way down Main Street starting at 4:00 p.m. and will be followed by the beef barbecue at 5:30 p.m.

Registration for the Olaf Leiseth Jr. Memorial Draft Horse Competition closes at 6:00 p.m. and the event takes place at 7:00 p.m. in the rodeo arena.

On Friday, July 13, commercial exhibits open at 9:00 a.m. and continue throughout the day.

Curley’s Funtastic Zone reopens at 11:00 a.m. and KIDDYUP goat roping starts at 11:30 a.m.

Remote NASCAR racing starts at 12:30 p.m. in the Kids Zone and face painting is available at 1:00 p.m.

Youth involved in the 4-H exhibits will be presented awards at 1:00 p.m. and a livestock sale starts at 2:00 p.m.

At 3:00 p.m. a candy drop is taking place and is sponsored by McKenzie Electric and the McKenzie County Fair.

At 4:30 the pinewood derby car races kick off with all participants needing to register at 3:30 p.m.

Registration for the demolition derby closes at 5:15 p.m. with car inspections following. The derby starts at 6:00 p.m.

On Saturday, July 14, registration for the Great County Fair Mud Run starts at 8:30 a.m. and benefits the MCB Wellness Center.

Commercial exhibits open at 9:00 a.m.

Curly’s Funtastic Kid Zone opens at 11:00 a.m. with goat roping at 11:30 a.m.

At 3:00 p.m. the lil’ buckaroo rodeo will take place at the livestock show arena.

The NDRA rodeo starts at 6:00 p.m. featuring saddle bronc and bareback riding, steer wrestling, calf roping ladies barrel racing and ladies and men’s breakaway roping

During the year long planning stages of preparing to put on this event, board members attend a winter fair convention as members of the Rocky Mountain Association of Fairs to prospect entertainment for McKenzie County. At the convention they listen to singers and musicians, and other entertainment and book their entertainment choices.

Tickets to the demolition derby or the rodeo cost $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-13. Children six and under are free.

For general information email [email protected]


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