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Talk about a fair deal!
General admission tickets to the Southern New Mexico State Fair and Rodeo (SNMSFR) include all fair exhibits; entertainment, rodeo and concerts. Admission prices are $15 per day for adults and $10 for children ages 7-14. Children ages 6 and under are free.
The fair is Wednesday-Sunday, Sept. 27-Oct. 1, at SNMSFG fairgrounds, 12125 Robert Larson Blvd., 13 miles west of downtown Las Cruces.
There are livestock shows; art, school, ag, 4H and other exhibits; vendor booths; princess and queen competitions; and special events like the Model A Ford display, fourth annual Stick Horserace, Antique Tractor Show and the Crazy Hats Contest.
Daily entertainment will be provided by North America Diving Dogs, Noah’s Way Petting Zoo and Pony Rides, Kent Family Circus and hypnotist/comedian Jerry Frazier. Musical entertainment includes Wade Hayes, UnLyshed, Bart Crow, the Fort Bliss U.S. Army Rock Band, 575 Band, Malcolm Tense, Moonshine Railroad, Lush Life Jazz Quintet and Cautivo Norteño and ballet folklorico, with more coming.
For the Frazier Shows midway carnival, you can buy an unlimited-ride wristband online for $27 before Oct. 1 ($30 at the gate) to ride unlimited rides 6-9 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday. A wristband is good for one day.
“We’re putting on a fantastic fair,” said Travis Brown, now in his sixth year as fair manager. “People are ready for it. They’re excited about it.”
Brown said about 40,000 visitors are expected at this year’s fair.
New this year
In addition to the hypnotist, the fair has added a third rodeo performance on Saturday afternoon and local band Cautivo Norteño and folklorico dancers on Sunday afternoon, Brown said. It will stay open one hour later, until 11 p.m., on Thursday, and the carnival will open one hour earlier, at 5 p.m., on Friday.
“We try our best to provide as much value as we can,” Brown said.
The fair will continue its exceptional rodeo for the second year, featuring special needs youth and some adults as rodeo contestants, he said.
The fair is a nonprofit with an all-volunteer board of directors and a large community of volunteers that puts on the massive five-day event, Brown said. The fair’s mission is to support youth and agriculture. Local public, private and home-schooled students get free field trips to the fairgrounds Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, he said, and local nonprofits are provided with free booth space for a day at the fair.
“We want to give back as much as we can,” Brown said.
The fair also raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year through its livestock auction to support youth raising and exhibiting animals and the continuing education of future ag leaders in Doña Ana and nine other counties in southern New Mexico and El Paso County in Texas.
Because of the fair’s successful fundraising – “the last two years have been tremendous,” Brown said – it has been able to increase the premiums paid to youth and adults placing who win, place or show in exhibition contests.
“We’re not just a rodeo and carnival,” Brown said. “Our calling is to support our youth and put on a good event for the community.”
For Brown, SNMSFR is a life-long tradition. He was born in 1967 – the year the fair began. His father, Larry Brown, was the Dona Ana County 4H agent, and his mom, Charlotte, pushed Travis around his very first fair at the age of about seven months.
Travis’ older siblings showed animals at early fairs, as he did and his children have done. His grandson plans to show a pigmy goat at this year’s fair for the second year in a row. Travis’ wife, Suzy, is a SNMSF Board member; his daughter was a fair princess and queen.
One of Travis’ earliest memories was cutting himself jumping over a fence at the fair when he was 5 or 6 years old. He still has the scar on his left forearm. Charlotte took him to the fair’s first aid station, which was manned by members of the Fairacres Volunteer Fire Department.
“That’s all I could talk about,” Brown said. “I was so impressed by those firefighters.”
That interaction very likely led to Brown’s career choice – he joined the Las Cruces Fire Department in July 1989 and capped a nearly 27-year career with LCFD when he was named fire chief in May 2010. In fact, Brown was in the show barn at the fair when he got the call from the city offering him the job of fire chief. Brown was chief for nearly six years, retiring in 2016.
For advance tickets to the fair, a schedule of events, a map of the fairgrounds and more information, visit snmstatefairgrounds.net.