Nick McWilliams reporting – The rodeo is making a return to the Tuscarawas County Fair, on the day where there is normally the yearly concert.

The Rafter M Rodeo, which features bull riding, bareback, breakaway roping, team roping and barrel racing, is based out of Belmont, Ohio, and was featured in June at the fairgrounds last year.

While the rodeo was brought back as its own attraction and not simply to replace the yearly concert, Fair Vice President Steve Cronebaugh explained that changes needed to be made, due to financial uncertainty in booking an expensive act.

“We met with entertainers and to get the quality the general public is requesting, we cannot even come close to showing a profit. You’re looking at $50,000 and up. Last year, we had almost $50,000 and we lost about $20-22,000 in the end.”

Ticket prices would increase in order to fund an act, and the fair would need a sellout in order to turn any kind of profit or breaking even, according to Cronebaugh.

Superintendent Doug Wills adds that due to the changing atmosphere of how singers spread their name and their work, fairs do not enjoy the same pull as before with entertainment.

“You look around, today, that’s not the case. It’s much easier, much more fun, to go open for somebody. An up-and-coming star and wants to go open, they can get big dollars for that.”

Even without the concert, fair board members remind residents of the other entertainment during the week, including this evening’s rodeo.

Superintendent Red Billman, who is handling the setup for the 7:30pm rodeo, says that local residents will compete, and they hope to see a large crowd cheering them on.

“We’ve had them here in the past. It was a full-blown rodeo from mutton-busting to bull riding.”

Senior’s Day is also today, where all fairgoers 65-and older will get $1 admission.

Junior Fair Market and Dairy Steer starts at 9 a.m., along with Junior Fair Pony and Easy Gaited Horse Shows and rabbits.

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