No single event draws our community together as much as the Johnson County Fair and Rodeo. After a summer of entertaining out-of-towners, the fair week is designed for the enjoyment of locals.

Fair and rodeo kicks off Friday with the 4-H fabric and fashion show and the Make-It-With-Wool contest, and things really pick up steam from there. There is so much to see and do, we’ve compiled our top 10 ways to enjoy the Johnson County Fair and Rodeo week.

10. The volunteers. The bulk of organizing and planning for the annual fair falls to the fair board, folks who will be working 18-hour days next week. They receive help from dozens of volunteers, without whom the fair simply would not be possible. You’ll see these folks dragging the track before rodeo events, acting as hosts in the exhibit halls, taking tickets and more; when you see them, be sure to thank them.

9. The Klondike Rush. Billed as “Wyoming’s Oldest and Finest” 5K and 10K race, walkers, joggers and runners are all welcome.

8. The exhibits. A walk through the exhibit halls can inspire and delight. We think you’ll be amazed once again by the handiwork of our friends and neighbors.

7. The junior livestock auction. Businesses come out in droves to support young people in their agricultural pursuits. The young sellers will be dressed in their best show duds, and the animals are sure to be sparkling, too.

6. The youth rodeo. We’d be hard pressed to imagine something cuter than a toddler in complete cowboy regalia being led through the barrels by a parent. A treat for spectators, the event has also provided a solid foundation for dozens of local cowboys and cowgirls.

5. The animals. Even in a ranching community, walking through the animal barns promises a good time. It’s not often can you can pet a goat, take a selfie with a grand champion steer and dodge loose pigs in a barn in the same day.

4. “Sheep night.” Tuesday evening is dedicated to sheep – the sheep feed, sheep lead and sheepdog trials. An event entirely unique to Johnson County, the Sheep Lead is as feel-good a night of entertainment as you’ll find anywhere. Afterward, head over to the arena for the sheepdog trials to watch the teams of sheepdogs and their handlers as they deftly work sheep.

3. The sense of community. Going out to the fairgrounds is a reunion of sorts, a chance to catch up with those folks who we just don’t get to see often enough.

2. The rodeo. No Wyoming county celebration would be complete without a rodeo. The Johnson County Rodeo is two days of cowboy fun with both traditional and nontraditional rodeo events. A few events that are sure to get the crowd laughing and cheering: the rescue races, wild cow milking and cowboy scramble.

1. The parade. Saturday morning’s parade down Main Street is a perennial favorite with young and old. Local clubs and businesses always have a good time interpreting the parade theme. We’re confident that this year’s theme, Women of Wyoming, will produce lots of colorful floats and entries.

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