County fair is next week with early event Saturday

The 2014 Union County Fair officially starts next Monday, July 14, and runs though Saturday, July 19, but a couple of events will be held as early as Saturday.

A few additions are being made to the schedule and more details about new events are coming out.

It was announced this week that the popular Landmarks Quartet will be performing as part of the gospel program Wednesday night. There will be no extra admission charge.

Added this year will be the Barnyard Olympics Extreme Challenge, starting at 6 p.m. in the arena Friday, July 18. This will pit teams from the New Albany high school, four county schools and Hickory Flat school as they attempt to complete obstacle courses.

Chairman David Peeler said each team will comprise seven boys and seven girls and each team with need a faculty member coach. Participants will be timed as they deal with obstacles such as crawling through 20-foot-long 24- and 30-inch culverts, go through mud, climb over gates, jump barrels, zig-zag between poles, climbing a large round hay bale and other challenges, with penalties for failing to meet times.

Trophies will be awarded but the real prize will be bragging rights, he said. Teams from other schools are welcome, also; they just need to show up with their 14 members and coach. In the event of a tie, a tug-of-war will determine the final winner.

Jim White has more than 40 entrants from several states including Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana and Kentucky signed up for the stock dog trials set for Saturday, and had talked with other owners who were planning to come and register on arrival.

This is the first year for the trials, which will mostly feature border collies, and the event will start at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 12. White expects enough entries for the event to carry over to Sunday. Admission is free.

In the trials, each dog will be required to go to the far end of the arena and “fetch” the sheep, bringing them back through several gates to the handler and then the dog will have to pen them at the other end of the arena (familiar to those who saw the movie about the talking animals, “Babe.”). Each dog is scored by judges.

The event is sanctioned by the United States Border Collie Handlers Association and the Mid-SouthStock Dog Association. White said the new event is being underwritten by Holiday Inn Express, New Albany Feed Store, Bumpers, Pizza Pit, New Albany Animal Clinic, Farm Bureau, Sonic, Union County Development Association, Pizza Hut, Attorney Joe Davis, Waffle House, Mi Pueblo, Lowes and Game Tyme.

The other main new event is the Ranch Rodeo, which will start at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 19.

Up to eight teams of four individuals each will compete in sorting, mugging, trailer loading, branding, doctoring and wild cow milking – all cowboy skills not usually seen in traditional rodeos.

A new event this year is MSU Extension Gardening Day, which will be Tuesday, July 15. It will include a Flower Power Show in the pavilion at 9 a.m., the Tomato Challenge at 10 and a gardening educational program in the Ladies Building at 11 a.m.