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Mercer Fair And Horse Show To Open With International Competition

A rider awaits the announcement of the winner at the 2018 horse show. (File image).

April Ellis
Herald Staff

Soon the air will be filled with scents of cotton candy and corn dogs, as the 195th  Mercer County Fair and Horse Show starts Monday, July 25 and runs through Saturday, July 30, with gates opening at  6 p.m. nightly.  This year’s horse show spectators will get the added bonus of the U.S. Saddle Seat 2022 International Competition being held Thursday and Friday, July 28-29.

“As the oldest continuous running fair, the fair board works hard to honor the history and the events the community looks forward to each year, but we also look for new and exciting events to add. We are very fortunate to have the Saddle Seat competition that draws exhibitors from around the country and the world to our fairgrounds to compete,” said Mercer County Fair Board Chairman LeMayne Ellis.

The saddle seat competition was originally a three-gaited saddle seat equitation showcase and now includes a five-gaited component. Teams from as many as five nations now compete for the coveted World Cup titles.

The event features amateur athletes 14-years-old and older who compete for individual scores, which accumulate toward a total team score. The athletes compete on horses supplied by local trainers and their barns. Riders aren’t familiar with the horse making it a true test of their riding skills.

Along with the international competition, horse show manager Brad Noel is excited for the caliber of horses showing this week.

“We have some of the top trainers coming. Several are using our show to prepare for the World Championships in Louisville. At any given night of the show, we may have eight million dollars worth of horses in the ring,” said Noel.

The horse show runs Wednesday through Saturday with classes beginning each night at 6:30 p.m. The academy classes will begin Saturday morning at 9 a.m.

There will also be plenty of entertainment going on outside of the show ring.

Demolition derby at Mercer County Fairgrounds. (File image).

This Friday and Saturday, July 22 and 23, there will be a demolition derby featuring classes for youth mini cars, mini pure stock with mini vans, quick build big cars, regular minis, windshield big cars and powder puff. The derby will start at 7 p.m. each night and admission is $15 per person with 10 and under free. Young and Wreckless will be putting on the derby and for more information contact them at 859-553-0951.

Miss Teen Mercer County Fair 2019 Shiann Stratton, center right, with her court after Monday’s pageant. Pictured left to right: Madisynn Griffin, most photogenic; Annie Pendygraft, first runner-up; Jacey Catlett, 2018 Miss Mercer; Stratton and Jersey McGinnis, second runner-up. (File image).

There will be two nights of pageants on Monday and Tuesday. Monday night will include the Miss Mercer, Ms. Mercer and Miss Teen. The pageants will intermingle with the first one starting at 6 p.m. On Tuesday is the Tiny Miss and Mister starting at 5 p.m., the Little Miss and Mister starting at 6:30 p.m. and Miss Pre-Teen at 8 p.m.

Kentucky Miss United States Agrivulture Leslie Streeval, left, presents the perpetual trophy for the inaugural C.H. “Buddy” McRay Award to Lizzy Turner, center, who also won supreme junior champion and youth supreme junior champion with Ms-AOL Jordy Revamp Red ET. Turner was also presented with a plaque by Jane McRay, right. (Fire image).

The livestock barn that was hit with high winds last year was replaced with a pole barn this year. Livestock shows start this Saturday, July 23, at 10 a.m. with the dairy show. Livestock shows pick back up Wednesday with the sheep show at 6 p.m. and they continue on Saturday, July 30, with the swine show at 9 a.m., the rabbit show at noon. The open beef show on Monday, Aug. 1 at 6 p.m. wraps up the beef show for the week.

Admission to the fair is $6 per person, with 5 and younger free. Bracelets to ride are $12 and individual tickets can also be purchased to ride.

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