New events bring family fun to the forefront of 2021 Pratt County Fair

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
Mickey Freeman puts her pink boots to the pedals and powers through a run at the Pratt County Fair pedal tractor pull on Saturday at the fairgrounds. She, along with more than 40 other participants, were cheered on by organizers (from left) Nick Panek, Jeff Freeman, Justin Gatz and a packed house of parents and grandparents.
Weston Hoeme enjoyed the beef show at the Pratt County Fair this year as he brought back an old friend, Mr. Whiskers, who was his bucket calf two years ago at the same fair.
The 2021 Pratt County Fair was a place for kids to hang out with friends and friendly competitors, like these at the first-ever county fair pedal tractor pull, sponsored by Kansas Farm Bureau, Pratt County chapter.

There may not have been a carnival at the Pratt County Fair this year, or for the past several years actually, but family fun and community excitement was abundant at 2021 events. A new pedal tractor pull brought in 43 contestants and their supporters early Saturday evening, the demolition derby was packed Friday night and a Christian southern rock concert played to a full house on Saturday night, despite warm temperatures.

"I saw a lot of people out enjoying the games we had this year, like ax throwing, mechanical bull riding, corn hole tournament, the race cars and face painting," said fair board member Josie Fox. "We had a great turnout for Scott Powell and his band 'On the Hill' and for the demolition derby. I think people were just happy to get out and fellowship. I saw a lot of sitting and talking and laughing, people enjoying each others company."

Scott Powell (middle) and the On The Hill band played Christian southern rock music Saturday night at the Pratt County Fair.

Fox, who also has children involved in 4-H, said the best part of any county fair was watching how local kids grow with their projects through the year and then interact with each other at the fair.

"Just watching the girls run around and play with their friends at the fair was fun, after all the hard work they have put in to get there," Fox said. "Yes they can run around at the park, but the fair is just a different atmosphere, it's rewarding in many ways, for all of us."

Preston 4-H Club member Weston Hoeme said showing his calf, Mr. Whiskers, at the 2021 Pratt County Fair was especially rewarding because he raised this one from a baby.

"I showed him two years ago as a bucket calf," he said. "We have spent a lot of time together and he is pretty easy to work with."

Local 4-H club member Breelee Wilson won a grand champion art award for her rooster made from bottle caps, but it was her sister Brecken, who had an even more surprising award when she won grand champion with her turken in the 4-H poultry show.

"Brecken entered four chickens in the fair this year," said mom Heather Wilson. "We included a turken in the pickings just to educate others who weren’t familiar with the breed. (They are ugly, bare-necked chickens.) However to our surprise the turken won grand champion in the young birds class and reserve champion in the overall poultry category. Who’d have ever guessed?? The judge said it was the most perfect turken she’d ever seen, and that she didn’t even like turkens."

For many area families, the chance to participate in the Kids Pedal Tractor Pull was a major excitement this year. The event, sponsored by the Pratt County Farm Bureau, started at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday evening and was still going an hour later.

Local participant, Oakley Panek, 6, said she had been waiting two years to get a chance to enter the contest. She got her day in the sun, along with many other exhuberant youngsters

"We had 43 contestants," Fox said. "We had people from Kiowa County and Kingman County that brought their kids just for the pedal pull. It was pretty intense competitiion for awhile."

Pratt County Research and Extension Agent Jodi Drake said it was a good feeling to have an almost normal county fair again after having to abbreviate almost everything last year.

"It was so nice to welcome the public back to our fairgrounds as we transitioned back to a normal fair. It was a great week celebrating all the hard work the 4-Hers have put in on their projects throughout the year," she said.