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.
3. That all major cultural groups in the community should be invited to display that which each group deemed important to their authentic and distinct culture. We identified the Native American, Hispanic, Black, and Old Western/Country communities for this first year. I gave each a limited budget and told them to do whatever they wanted so long as legal and in good taste – but authentic.
a. Native American Community. Stu Grant and I met with various Native American Groups. I recall Mrs. Littlejohn (maybe Chief Littlejohn) who seemed to show interest in the fair and seemed to like the community concept. I recall about two days before the fair opened, two or three trucks from Oklahoma came rolling into the fairground asking if this was the right place for the “mini pow-wow”. I said I’m not sure. They showed me a flyer and sure enough, it was the right place. This community had taken us quite seriously.
Stu and I had advised the Native Americans that they should do what they felt was part of their culture – with some limitations – no peyote or related. I remember one evening they dug a hole, put some kernels of corn – or something – in the hole and put up a post of some sort and gathered around and had some kind of ceremony consecrating the area for their participation. It was special and Stu and I felt like we were on sacred ground.
They built some make-shift store/work areas out of the lumber we provided where they made Indian fry bread and different things that were what they wanted to do and it had a good feel as being authentic.
b. Hispanic Community. I was somewhat familiar with Hispanic culture and I had been making adobes for a home that I was building so I set up an adobe making display where I had the mixer and materials and I made adobes that were drying in the sun and I had put up a portion of a wall and an arch and it looked like adobe is supposed to look like and it drew a lot of attention.
We contracted with Mariachis that roamed around the fairgrounds playing Mariachi music and of course authentic Mexican food was served in the area and it had a good feel to it.
C. Black Community. They had some booths where they placed historical exhibits and some food. They hired JC and the Allstars as the band to play music of the type they wanted to play and it seemed to have all the trappings of a wonderful cultural presentation, however, on one of the fair nights it rained and JC and the Allstars were performing on a little island out in the middle of a large mud puddle which just drove me nuts – and they didn’t want to move.
I approached Jesse Thomas who was my cultural contact and I said, “Jesse, I am dead This doesn’t look good. I can’t do this. And they don’t want to move.”
I can’t remember the outcome but I survived to write this account and they seemed happy with the concept to be involved and it was a success.
d. Old Western/Country Community. A fellow from Pahrump – pretty much a “hayseed” to which I could perfectly relate – had an old town made of storefronts with various types of stores which he erected together to form an old western town in a sort of “L” layout. Sales of food and drink and related items were made from inside the various storefronts and there was dutch oven cooking being done and offered for sale.
On one end of the store-town, there was a corral made of wooden poles where actual horses were housed which would pull a buckboard wagon giving children rides (for a dollar or two) all over the fairgrounds. Behind the corral were bales of hay for the horses.
This was probably a bit more dangerous than the county authorities might appreciate, but it was authentic and it was well-received. Additionally, I put my touch on it with one of my favorite country musicians from Las Vegas, Don Holoman who was a well-known country artist in Las Vegas and surrounding areas and he performed nightly to the delight of the crowd. This area had a real good feel to it as did the others.
And so went the first fair on the new fairgrounds. We simply did not want a limited plastic fair but a broader event that was something a bit more I suppose. The livestock events went off as planned under Glen Hardy’s direction and with the help of various others including Jerry Haworth, Judge Lanny Waite, many youth 4-H leaders, and a wonderfully entertaining auctioneer. The PRCA rodeo was great as would be expected and the cultural communities functioned beyond expectation.
The carnival fulfilled all expectations for happy children and parents. We even had an elephant ride somehow which was well received. The food vendors were great. I still miss the deep-dish apple pie with ice cream – just saying.
*A big thanks to Dave Crosby for his time in typing up this historical recall of the Clark County Fair in 1988.
To read the previous articles in this series pertaining to the history of the 1988 Clark County Fair and Rodeo, please see the related articles below (Part 1 & Part 2)
MEMORIES OF THE 1988 CLARK COUNTY FAIR: FAIR HELD AT THE NEW MOAPA VALLEY FAIRGROUNDS (Part 1)
MEMORIES OF THE 1988 CLARK COUNTY FAIR: FAIR HELD AT THE NEW MOAPA VALLEY FAIRGROUNDS (Part 2)
3 thoughts on “MEMORIES OF THE 1988 CLARK COUNTY FAIR: FAIR HELD AT THE NEW MOAPA VALLEY FAIRGROUNDS (Part 3)”
Great Article, Are you going to continue publishing articles by year? I can remember when Mesquite had the Fair here….or am I dreaming. Thanks to Dave Crosby for sharing a piece of history.