The heat lasted all week, and the stormy weather held off just enough for the Platte County Fair to finish up.
Temperatures in the upper 90s with oppressive heat indexes marked each of the first four days of the 154th annual event in Tracy, Mo. Still, thousands poured through the gates, staying all the way until the final notes from Outlaw Jim and the Whiskey Benders on Saturday, July 22 with lightning dotting the sky behind the famous Dirty Shame Saloon.
In between, the fair again hosted two days of demolition derby, crowned a new queen and saw the return of a traditional competition.
After a 10-year hiatus, the junior livestock shows were held at the livestock barn on the grounds over a three-day period. In total, more than 200 entries and more than 100 exhibitors, including sheep, goats, pigs, cattle and other small animals, were shown to good-sized crowds Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings.
Previously an annual event at the Platte County Fair, the livestock shows quietly went away after 2007.
The establishment of the Platte County Livestock Boosters along with work from dedicated volunteers and fundraisers helped revive the tradition. The local chapters of the Future Farmers of America at North Platte and West Platte high schools and Northland Career Center in Platte City and the Platte County meat judging teams provided support.
Local grand champions included market goat: Paisley Nelson of Platte City with (Farley Jolly Workers); heifer: Courtney Dehn of Dearborn (Ladybugs and Beetles) bull: Paisley Nelson and Morgan VanNatta of Weston (Farley Jolly Workers).
“The show attendance exceeded our expectations for our comeback show,” said Ruth Nelson, president of the Platte County Livestock Boosters. “We thought that 100 entries was an optimistic goal when we started planning last fall. We never dreamed we would have families travel over 3 to 4 hours to attend a somewhat new show.
“Platte County has a rich history in agriculture, and I believe this show is a testament to not only the number of youth that Platte County has involved in 4-H or FFA programs but also to the quality and caliber in which they performed. There was not a day of showing that Platte County didn’t rise to the top and that is very exciting. We are eager to involve even more families and supporters as we prepare for next year’s show.”
With competition numbers up, Brittany Burns, 21, of Dearborn, Mo. became the 2017 Platte County Fair queen. She earned the right to represent Platte County in the upcoming Missouri State Fair queen competition in addition to scholarship awards.
Burns, currently seeking a musical therapy degree at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, sang and provided her own accompaniment in the talent portion of the competition. The nine contestants were also judged on a pre-competition interview, evening gown competition and a candid question and answer.
Karlye Horn, the 2014 Platte County fair queen, presented Burns with the crown.
Anne Wartenburger, 17, of Weston, Mo. was named first runner-up, while Allison Bergstrom, 18, of Platte City was the second runner-up. Ashley Burns, 19, of Dearborn, Mo. was named Miss Congeniality.
The demolition derby occupied two of the four nights on the Grandstand Track, drawing the largest crowds.
On Wednesday, July 19, NorthPoint Development of Riverside, Mo. added to the traditional competitions by entering a number of cars across two heats of competition. Nathaniel Hagedorn, founder and CEO, provided his employees with cars and even drove himself, much to the delight of the packed crowd.
The opening night of super stocks stole the show.
Chris Johnson plowed into the other three remaining competitors late, resulting in a pileup. Brett Canole, who briefly lost his helmet earlier in the derby resulting in a pause, freed himself and ended up winning with Justin Comer second and Johnson third.
The main event was again scheduled for Friday night with the Central States Summer Championship.
After four repeat classes from the previous night, nine cars were entered in the modified class to cap the evening. In the end, twin brothers Craig and Ryan McCrackin — 2006 graduates of North Platte High School — finished first and second.