Today, April 6, 2022, the Clark County Fair and Rodeo is “Back in the Saddle” and started after a 2-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. We will be doing a series of articles all written by David Crosby, well known Nevada attorney and part of the group that helped bring the Clark County Fair to Logandale, Nevada in 1988. These articles are excerpts from one written memorial of the birth of the Clark County Fair and Rodeo in its new and current location in Moapa Valley.
Caveat: I prepare this “information” based mainly on – possible faulty – memory of an event and related matters that took place about thirty-four years ago. It is also from my personal perspective and experience which could be slightly opinionated – no disrespect intended.
There had been county fairs for a number of years in Moapa Valley which is an ideal place for such events as it is by far the most agriculture and livestock-based community in Clark County. After all, county fairs traditionally seem to center around such things as baby cows and the largest carrot and pumpkin competition. Those prior fairs were fairly small and a bit more of a local event than a broad county event although some prior fairs were held in the Las Vegas area they had no home or proper facility.
The 1988 county fair was excitingly going to be different as a new fairground was under construction and slated for being open for the 1988 fair in a new exciting step forward for the community and for those who otherwise cared about such things. A trio of leaders in the community, Grant Bowler, Jay Whipple, and Glen Hardy seemed to have been the primary proponents of the new fairground facility (along with others I am sure) who decided to make the new fairgrounds a reality. Grant Bowler a retired educator who contributed a great deal to the community over the years had convinced the county leaders that he controlled the “Mormon” vote and in order to avoid the displeasure of a large block of voters they should cooperate in this very worthy project – some slightly begrudgingly – but they did.
I recall on one occasion I had met with County Commissioner Manny Cortez who told me directly that I was not in charge of the fair; that Mr. Bowler would pretty much control the whole thing… I strongly assured him that there was a separation of the fair board and the group that promoted the fairground facility. On a later occasion, I mentioned to Mr. Bowler that there was a separation of functions that did not sit well with him. Glen Hardy, also an educator but specializing in livestock and agriculture as the ag teacher at the local high school for many years was a tireless proponent. The fair and new fair facility was a dream of his as this was a monumental step consistent with his life’s work and passion – next only to his family and church.
Jay Whipple, highly respected and also a stalwart in the community as the manager of the local water district and with a lot of experience and relationships in the construction industry coordinated a lot of contributed labor and equipment from prominent construction companies including Laird Whipple Concrete and the Frehner Construction companies.
There were many others who I do not purposely leave unnamed – there were too many that contributed unselfishly and I never knew who they all were anyway.
In the fall of 1987, Curtis Waite who had been active in the county fair production in Moapa Valley for a number of years as the Chairman of the Clark County Fair Board invited me to his home to discuss the county fair. He said he was going to be gone on ecclesiastical assignment for a couple of years and would I take over for him the 1988 season to which I naively consented.
At the time, I was employed by the Clark County Business License Department under the very capable leadership of Ned Solomon, a community stalwart who – possibly a bit reluctantly – allowed me to spend some substantial time in this supposed act of community service; after all, it was a non-paying job and would benefit the Moapa Valley community where he also resided. Heretofore I had just been minding my own business with a bit of a sense of community spirit so I suppose I was somewhat of a target for the job although I really knew nothing about fair production – how quickly I was about to learn!!
To continue reading about the history of the Clark County Fair as according to David Crosby in 1988, please see part 2 of this series of articles.
MEMORIES OF THE 1988 CLARK COUNTY FAIR: FAIR HELD AT THE NEW MOAPA VALLEY FAIRGROUNDS (Part 2)
MEMORIES OF THE 1988 CLARK COUNTY FAIR: FAIR HELD AT THE NEW MOAPA VALLEY FAIRGROUNDS (Part 3)
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