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4-H Fair celebrates last year at fairgrounds

75th Montcalm fair starts July 4

A local rodeo legend and a country music star are teaming up to write the final chapter for the Montcalm County 4-H Fair during its last event at its current location.

Country music star John Berry will perform July 10 during the fair’s traditional Saturday night rodeo, both at intermission and following the show. A favorite event for fairgoers, the rodeo is produced by fair alumni and former PBR rodeo clown/bull fighter Brandt Clark.

Berry said during the course of his career, he has “developed some special friendships” with several people in the area, including Kim Thomsen, president of the Montcalm County 4-H Council. He said he was thrilled when he was invited to be part of a special farewell celebration as the fair ends its 75-year run at its current location during the week-long event, July 4-10.

On June 21, the fair broke ground on a $4 million construction project at its new location north of Greenville. Fair officials plan to hold next year’s fair there.

“This fair has been on these fairgrounds for 75 years. It’s wild. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event,” Berry said. “It really is a monumental moment for a lot of people who have been very involved with this fair. There are people who grew up in the area and have been going there since they were kids. You have grandparents, parents, generations of families who are involved,” Berry said. “To be the closing entertainment for that…let’s just say we’re going to see if we can come up with something special.”

Berry is known for such hit country singles as “Your Love Amazes Me,” “Kiss Me in the Car,” and “Standing on the Edge of Goodbye.”

His acoustic show will feature his wife, Robin, their 15-year-old son Caelen, and their bassist. “It’s an unplugged kind of show, an intimate evening,” Berry said.

A wilder side of the evening will feature classic rodeo entertainment as the cowboys and cowgirls test their mettle against the bulls and barrels. They’ll cut up the dirt—or eat it—in events like barrel racing, bull riding and the crows favorite team bull-fighting.

Fair board member and public relations coordinator Lisa Johnson said rodeo organizer Brandt Clark brought new life to the rodeo when he took over the show a few years ago.

“He’s a local guy and he has a passion for the sport,” she said. “There’s something to be said for putting on a rodeo in your own backyard at the fair that your family has always been involved with.

“We’re really proud of him,” Johnson said. “Here we have a national-champion caliber bull fighter who is back here with us putting on the rodeo at the fair where he grew up showing horses.”

The action starts at 7 p.m. July 10, in front of the grandstand. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children age 12 and younger and includes both the rodeo and John Berry’s performances. Advance tickets go on sale July 8 at the box office under the grandstand.

Other fair events include a variety of youth animal exhibits, still exhibits, a horse pull, team penning, demolition derby, carnival rides and games, natural horsemanship shows and the annual livestock auction.

Although the fair officially starts on Sunday, things really get to rockin’, rollin’, and roarin’ Tuesday evening, July 6, when the carnival presented by Skerbeck Brothers gets underway. A quarter scale modified garden tractor pull begins at 7p.m. in front of the grand stand and is free to everyone. These modified tractors and motorcycles may be small, but they can really put out the noise and the power.

On Wednesday, July 7, children and their families can enjoy Kids’ Day with special events from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dozens of sponsors will be on hand featuring a kids pedal pull, bicycle raffles, a limited supply of free bicycle helmets, games, prizes and giveaways, and visitors can ride all the carnival rides they want from 1 to 5 p.m. for $12 per person.

Visit www.montcalm4-hfair.com/ for more information about the 75th Montcalm County 4-H Fair.

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