Officials: Kaw Valley Rodeo saw near-record attendance

By Brady Bauman

The 2014 Riley County Fair ended last weekend, and some numbers are in the books.

Riley County Extension Director Jennifer Wilson touted the fair as a success and said that the Kaw Valley Rodeo saw near record attendance.

“We had another great fair,” Wilson told county commissioners Monday morning. “We appreciate everyone that helped out, and there were a number of county departments who stepped up.

“We’re still working on some figures, but I do know that the Kaw Valley Rodeo had almost a record year.”

Wilson said the rodeo saw 5,955 people in the stands over Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights combined last week, which is 35 short of the attendance record over the last 10 years.

“Their biggest night was Thursday night, which was also Military Appreciation (Night),” she said. More people than usual also came on Thursday, she said, because the forecast for the weekend predicted higher temperatures. “People also saw the forecast and saw it was going to be hot and went ahead and came out Thursday night.”

Wilson also said there were a few heat-related incidents during the fair, but they were contained mostly throughout the carnival area and during the warmer days of the fair.

“I heard nothing but good things about the fair,” Commissioner Dave Lewis told Wilson. “The facilities were terrific and most of the time the weather was pretty accommodating.”

Wilson said her office is open to suggestions for improving next year’s county fair and that the deadline to send those suggestions is Sept 20. The next fair board meeting on Sept. 23.

Suggestions can be made by calling the Riley County Extension office or through email.

In other items, new County Treasurer Shilo Heger was officially introduced by Commissioner Ron Wells, and Riley County Human Resources Manager Cindy Volanti introduced Kevin Howser, who officially took over as the county’s new information technology/graphic information systems director.

Howser comes to Riley County from Topeka and has 30 years of IT experience, which has included jobs at Westar Energy, the Eldon, Missouri, public school district and Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

His wife, Debora, is the executive director of Special Services for the Manhattan-Ogden school district.

Lewis said the search process lasted three months and that the county had 25 applicants for the position. He praised Dawn Schoffner, who oversaw the department during the search.

“We’re excited to have you here, and happy you wore a purple tie on your first day,” Lewis told Howser. “And we thank Dawn Schoffner, who’s been our interim director for the last few months. She’s done an outstanding job.”

Finally, Wells joined members of the Riley County Health Department in proclaiming this week Breastfeeding Awareness Week in the county.

The proclamation urges citizens and prospective mothers to educate themselves on the benefits of breastfeeding and its many health contributions to infant development. More information about breastfeeding can be found through the health department’s website.

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