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Blanco County Fair and Rodeo is ‘like a reunion’ for the community

Todd Swift and daughter, Amber Fry, practice goat roping to prepare for the event at the Blanco County Fair and Rodeo, which is Aug. 17-20 in Johnson City. Courtesy photo

JOHNSON CITY — Love the rodeo? How about a lamb show? And a carnival? What about a queen’s contest? And a washer and domino tournament?

You can find that — and so much more — at the Blanco County Fair and Rodeo on Aug. 17-20 at the fairgrounds, 619 U.S. 281.

Celebrating its 86th year, the event begins with the youth rodeo at 6 p.m. Aug. 17.

On Aug. 18, team roping is at 7 p.m. with goat roping following at 9 p.m. The team roping is limited to graduates of Lyndon B. Johnson or Blanco high schools and property owners in Blanco County.

Blanco County Fair and Rodeo Association treasurer Camille Swift said goat roping is especially fun to watch. Participants are on foot trying to rope a goat like they would in team roping on a horse.

“It’s about the ability of the person,” she said. “It’s not about the man and his horse or how good the horse is. There’s a lot of girls and children. It’s a neat little contest.”

On Aug. 19, fair exhibits open to the public at 4 p.m. with the queen’s contest and junior lamb and meat goat shows at 7 p.m. and the open pro rodeo at 8 p.m.

The street parade in downtown Johnson City starts at 10 a.m. Aug. 20. The action returns to the fairgrounds at 1 p.m. with the junior steer show and washer-pitching contest, which typically draws about 90 teams. The domino tournament and fair exhibits open at 2 p.m. followed by the queen’s coronation at 7 p.m. and the rodeo at 8 p.m.

The rodeo dances feature John Christopher Way on Aug. 19 and Texas country musician Jake Ward on Aug. 20. Each dance begins at 9 p.m.

The carnival starts at 7 p.m. Aug. 18-20.

Lester Meier Rodeo Co. is the stock provider.

There is no cost to attend the youth rodeo. Tickets on July 18 are $6 for adults and $3 for ages 5-12. Admission on Aug. 19 is $10 for adults and $5 for children. On Aug. 20, adults pay $12 and there is no cost for children to attend.

Swift said her family is much like many Blanco County residents: They block out the third weekend in August every year to attend the rodeo and fair.

She has been involved with it since 1979 when her father, Dwayne Hopper, was a director. She and her husband, Todd Swift, have taken their daughters, Brittni, Amber and Brooke, to the event for years. Now that third generation is helping as adults while the Swifts’ 7-year-old grandson, Truett Fry, is now involved.

Brooke’s husband, Casey White, spent many Saturdays putting in new arena fencing, while Truett painted.

“He is learning what it takes to put on a fair and rodeo,” Swift said. “This rodeo is like a reunion for people to come back here and see people they haven’t seen. That’s what it’s like here.”

Swift was quick to point out that her family volunteers like so many others to ensure the fair and rodeo are a success. Many people worked on the arena to make it better, she added, and emphasized it takes the caring hearts of so many to put on an event of this size.

“It’s unique, it’s special to me,” she said. “I have three granddaughters (Taryn Fry and Harper and Holdyn White). And when they drive by the arena and see people there, they ask, ‘What’s going on at our fairgrounds?’”

Go to for a schedule of events and more information.

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