COFFEYVILLE, KAN. - Time, depression and disaster have not dampened the spirit that keeps the Inter-State Fair alive each year in Coffeyville, Kan.

From its earliest beginnings - 100 years ago - the fair has been a family tradition for residents of southeast Kansas and northeast Oklahoma. Multiple generations have participated in the fair as exhibitors, spectators and workers.

This year, fair-goers will be embarking upon a monumental celebration as the time-honored event rolls out the red carpet for its 100th birthday.

The 2008 schedule includes activities each day that are designed for family entertainment. There are agricultural exhibits, a bake sale, carnival rides on the fairway, mutton bustin' and a stick rodeo for the very young, livestock judging, fine arts exhibits, a parade, a tractor pull, lawn mower races, a fair ground feed and the Inter-State Fair royalty contest. And let's not forget the ever popular demolition derby, country and western music show and four-nights of fantastic PRCA rodeo.

Through the years

In 1907, a one-arm Tennessee gentleman, Dr. Thaddeus Constantine Frazier, organized a group called, The Montgomery County Agricultural Fair and Race Association. George Pfister, who worked for the city of Coffeyville, also organized a group of businessmen. Mr. C.L. Hollingsworth, who owned the land called Forest Park, started with Frazier and his group in 1907. Hollingsworth changed groups and in 1908, an organization headed by George J. Pfister, called The Montgomery County Fair Association was born. The first fair was advertised as, “The Coffeyville Fair,” and in 1909 the premium list book included the Montgomery County Fair Association Charter along with the membership list. Reference of being the second-annual Fair and Races was printed.

Early fairs included several major attractions such as Dr. Carver and his Wild West Show on two occasions, perch filled ponds for children to catch fish, high-diving acts, early aircraft demonstrations, and tons and tons of baked goods and pastries.

Canned fried chicken stole the show one year. Ostrich racing, the transformation from wagons to automobiles, the evolution of radio doing remote broadcasting, the giveaways of new cars, and the horse racing were all crowd favorites. Livestock entries were constant each year showcasing quality animals in all classes. Community crafts, arts, and various collections all filled Floral Hall each year. 4-H and Farm Bureau competitions soon became an exciting part of fair week.

In 1941, the city of Coffeyville purchased the property and spent over $100,000 in renovations including the installation of lights around the race track. Following the 1946 fair, there was a $110 deficit. Fair Association members started to discuss the possibility of including a rodeo as part of fair week. Professional rodeos actually started in 1942, but were not part of fair week. The Fair Association started to include rodeos in 1947 and 1948, only to have it removed in 1949 because of lack of funds. Public demand forced The Fair Association to resume the rodeo again in 1950 to 1952. In 1953, Mr. Bill O'Connor arrived in Coffeyville and because rodeo was his life, and because of his experience, he took control. Bill O'Connor spent his life developing the rodeo into Kansas' largest attracting top cowboys from around the country sanctioned by the PRCA. In 1958, the 50th anniversary, the Inter-state Fair and Rodeo had its best year on record. Other major milestones include the fun-pass, the additional of the Demolition Derby, Tractor-pulls, Motocross, and the addition of stick rodeo and pulling contests for children. Senior citizens were included in talent and spelling bees regularly. To name a few of the big acts that delighted Coffeyville crowds include, Big Jon and Sparkie, Pinky Lee, Tex Ritter, Ray Price, Dennis Weaver, Robert Culp, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Porter Wagoner, Toby Keith, Brooks and Dunn, Roy Clark, Kansa and comedian Bill Engvall.

A one-year hiatus

When flood waters burst from the Verdigris River in June last year, much of Coffeyville was under several feet of water - including the fairgrounds. The flood caused significant damage and caused the event to cancel for 2007.

“We suffered a natural disaster and rebounded from this loss to rise to the challenge,” said fair and rodeo president Richard Johnson. “The flood was a chace to rebuild and move things to make the fair better.”

The format of the events are the same, but the excitement built into each event will have you on the edge of your seat each and every day, according to Johnson.

“Our tractor pull chairman has added new classes to the event,” Johnson said. “The freestyle motocross will be more exciting with the new act from to Boost Mobile Freestyle MX Motocross, and of course the demo derby is always has an excitement all of its own.”

The concert hall will be packed with the music of Jake Owen opening for the ACM's top new female vocalist Miranda Lambert.

The rodeo chairman has given the P.R.C.A. rodeo a new look as well.

“Beutler and Son Rodeo Company is one of the strongest stock contractors in the business today and we are proud to have Bennie and Rhett Beutler with us this year,” Johnson said. “Lecile Harris, pro rodeo's master comedian, and 2007 Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame Inductee will keep us entertained all 4 nights of the rodeo. Most of all we are very proud to bring Texas Thunder, a 6-horse hitch of black Percheron Draft Horses to entertain during most of the week of the fair.”

2008 schudule

Saturday, August 09, 2008

8:00 AM Dairy Goat Show & Judging - Livestock Show Arena

4:00 PM Kansas Kiddie Pedal Pullers Sanctioned Pull - East of Rec Center

7:00 PM O'Reilly Missouri State Tractor Pullers Sanctioned Pull - Grandstand

Sunday, August 10, 2008

8:00 AM Dairy Goat Show and Judging

7:30 PM FreestyleMX.com Tour - Grandstand

Monday, August 11, 2008

4:00 PM - 11:00 PM Commercial Exhibits Open

6:30 PM Rodeo Royalty Coronation - Grandstand Arena

7:30 PM Miranda Lambert in Concert with Jake Owen - Grandstand Arena

Miranda Lambert will headline this year's Interstate Fair and Rodeo concert and opening for her will be Jake Owen.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

8:00 AM - 11:00 AM Exhibit Entry Submissions Accepted - Exhibits Building (Recreation Center)

All exhibit entries must be submitted at the Exhibits Building (Recreation Center) during this time period.

12:00 PM Breeding Swine Check-in Opens - Swine Barn

1:00 PM Judging of Inside Exhibits - Exhibits Building (Recreation Center)

The Exhibits Building (Recreation Center) will be closed until all entries are judged.

4:00 PM - 8:00 PM Market Swine Entries Weigh-In - Livestock Show Arena

Weigh-in of all market swine entries.

4:00 PM - 11:00 PM Commercial Exhibits Open

6:00 PM - 10:00 PM Midway Carnival

6:00 PM Bake Sale - Exhibits Building (Recreation Center)

6:00 PM - 9:00 PM Exhibits Building Open - Exhibits Building (Recreation Center)

Exhibits building may open earlier if all judging is completed.

7:00 PM Stierwalt Grooming Clinic - Livestock Show Arena

Sponsored by Coffeyville Feed & Farm Supply and Purina Mills

7:30 PM Demolition Derby - Grandstand

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

8:00 AM - 11:00 AM Remaining Livestock Entries Made and Weighed-In - Livestock Barns

Market steers, lambs and goats will be weighed in and registration papers will be checked on all breeding stock. See the livestock entry rules and regulations for more information.

9:00 AM Judging of Swine Breeding Entries with Barrow Judging to Follow - Livestock Show Arena

10:00 AM - 9:00 PM Exhibits Building Open to Public - Exhibits Building (Recreation Center)

1:00 PM All Rabbit and Poultry to be in Place - Ron Stevenson Multipurpose Building

4:00 PM - 11:00 PM Commercial Exhibits Open

4:00 PM Rodeo Parade - Downtown Coffeyville

5:00 PM Fairground Feed

Sponsored by Condon National Bank Heritage Club

6:00 PM Midway Carnival

6:00 PM Stick Horse Rodeo - Barrel Racing - Livestock Show Arena

Sponsored by Coffeyville Resources Refining & Marketing

7:30 PM PRCA Rodeo - Grandstand Arena

Thursday, August 14, 2008

8:00 AM Judging of Rabbit Entries - Ron Stevenson Multipurpose Building

9:00 AM Judging of Sheep Breeding Entries and Wether Dams with Market Lambs to Follow - Livestock Show Arena

10:00 AM - 9:00 PM Exhibits Building Open to Public - Exhibits Building (Recreation Center)

1:00 PM Judging of Poultry Entries - Ron Stevenson Multipurpose Building

2:00 PM Spelling Bee for Seniors - Exhibits Building at Walter Johnson Park

4:00 PM - 11:00 PM Commercial Exhibits Open

6:00 PM - 10:00 PM Midway Carnival - Midway

6:00 PM Stick Horse Rodeo - Goat Tying & Dummy Roping - Livestock Show Arena

5 & Under Goat Tying and 8 & Under Dummy Roping. Sponsored by Coffeyville Resources Refining & Marketing.

7:30 PM Judging of Market Meat Goats with Breeding Entries to Follow - Livestock Show Arena

7:30 PM PRCA Rodeo - Grandstand

Friday, August 15, 2008

8:00 AM Judging of Breeding Beef Entries with Market Steers to Follow - Livestock Show Arena

10:00 AM - 9:00 PM Exhibits Building Open to Public - Exhibits Building (Recreation Center)

2:00 PM Talent Contest for Seniors - Exhibits Building at Walter Johnson Park

4:00 PM - 11:00 PM Commercial Exhibits Open

5:00 PM Bucket Calf Show - Livestock Show Arena

6:00 PM Midway Carnival - Midway

6:00 PM Stick Horse Rodeo - Finals - Livestock Show Arena

Top 5 barrel racers and goat tiers compete. Sponsored by Coffeyville Resources Refining & Marketing

7:30 PM PRCA Rodeo - Grandstand

7:30 PM JR Dairy Heifer Show - Livestock Show Arena

Saturday, August 16, 2008

8:00 AM Judging of Dairy Cattle Entries - Livestock Show Arena

10:00 AM Horseshoe Tournament - Fairground Horseshoe Pits

Double Round Robin style of tournament play. $10 per team. No preregistration required.

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM Exhibits Building Entries Dismissed - Exhibits Building (Recreation Center)

All entries must be picked up during these hours. No entries may be removed from class display before 10 a.m.

4:00 PM - 11:00 PM Commercial Exhibits Open

4:30 PM Junior Market Livestock Sale - Livestock Show Arena

4:30 PM Livestock Awards Ceremony - Livestock Show Arena

6:00 PM - 10:00 PM Midway Carnival - Midway

7:30 PM PRCA Rodeo

8:00 PM Dismissal of Poultry and Rabbit - Ron Stevenson Multipurpose Building

8:00 PM Dismissal of All Non-Sale Animals - Livestock Barns