Montcalm County 4-H Fair in sight; Motocross returns for first time in 10 years


By Curtis Wildfong • Last Updated 10:16 am on Friday, June 20, 2014

A tractor works up the dirt in Base Arena as the as the Montcalm County Fairgrounds get yet a day closer to the start of the annual 4-H Fair Thursday afternoon. (Daily News | Kyle Wilson)

 

MONTCALM TOWNSHIP — Now in its 79th year, there are few things that are more of a tradition in the area than the Montcalm County Fair.

An event that brings in tens of thousands of visitors, the county fair is the area’s own “summer classic” and this year’s fair week should be every bit as memorable as the previous 78.

Speaking of tradition, back at the 2014 fair will be SJO Productions Motocross series, scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the grandstands. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 10 and younger.

“I think it’s been about a 10-year hiatus,” said Lisa Johnson, fair coordinator.

It was one of the fair’s staple events, but as the motocross series grew and filled itself with better talent, it outgrew the county’s former home where Montcalm Community College’s Greenville campus now stands.

“It was a great event for us, but the arena was so small for us,” said Mark Powers, co-owner of SJO Productions.

But the new grounds offer much more space, which will allow for a much better show, Powers said.

“I think it’s going to be really successful,” he said. “The more room means bigger air.”

The event will feature about 150 riders, ranging from young beginners right on up through the more skilled series, for which the event will serve as one of the season’s point races.

“It should be a great turnout for us,” Powers said. “It’s definitely a great show.”

The fair is now in the fourth year at the new digs and fairgoers may notice a few upgrades.

In the past, dust and dirt have been a nuisance to fair organizers and visitors alike, but that issue should be far less of a pain this year as the planted grass seems to finally be taking hold.

“We’re much greener this year,” Johnson said with a smile.

Some of the improvements may be harder to notice, but are just as important as any of the others; take for example the new sheep pens.

“The last seven years we’ve been borrowing sheep pens from the Gratiot County Fair,” Johnson said. A former 4-H member welded the new pens and another fair group painted them. “This year we got our own pens.”

Indoors bathrooms at the Ash Building will be available for the first time at the fairgrounds this year, something that may seem trivial, but are an important feature to have.

“It’s one more step toward getting things done,” Johnson said.

Also new this year is the fair will feature a new carnival, operated by Maple Leaf Amusements out of Breckenridge.

The carnival, which will feature 15 rides, food and games, will be in operation Tuesday from 4 to 10 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 10 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday from noon to 11 p.m.

The fairgrounds grandstands also have a full slate of events. Below is the week’s grandstand schedule.

• Monday: Antique Tractor Pull, 7 p.m. Cost is $5 for aduls, kids 10 and younger are free.

• Tuesday: Poorman Pullers Mini Modified Tractor Pull, 7 p.m. Cost is $5, kids 10 and younger are free.

• Wednesday: SJO Productions Motocross, 7 p.m. Cost is $10 for adults and $5 for kids 10 and younger.

• Thursday: Livestock Auction, 5 p.m.

• Friday: MTTP Michigan Tractor and Truck Pullers Association, 7 p.m. Cost is $10 for adults and $5 for kids 10 and younger.

• Saturday: Unique Motor Sports Demolition Derby, 7 p.m. Cost is $15 for adults and $5 for kids 10 and younger.

For more information on events, auctions, ticket prices and more, visit www.montcalmcountyfairgrounds.com.

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