Concert, kickball tourney top 4-H fair lineup


Casey Reckelhoff can’t imagine kids growing up without 4-H.

“It’s really an enrichment to their lives,” the 4-H Council leader said. “Our focus has been preserving what 4-H was when I was a kid, and maintaining the quality for the next generation.”

Reckelhoff remembers the exhilarating atmosphere of the 4-H fair when he was a kid, and he hopes to bring that excitement back to this year’s fair.

The annual Dubois County 4-H Fair will kick off Monday at the 4-H Fairgrounds in Bretzville. This year’s fair will feature new carnival rides, an inaugural co-ed kickball tournament and upped payouts for demolition derby winners.

The fair will also see the return of the concert after a two-year hiatus.

J.D. Shelburne, a country artist from Taylorsville, Kentucky, will perform at the Grandstand Arena at 8:30 p.m. on July 16. Admission is $10 for general seating, and $20 for a dirt-level ticket. Tickets are available at the gate.

Shelburne has performed at NASCAR, NBA, NCAA and MLB events. His single “One Less Girl” premiered on CMT in 2018, and went on to be a Top 30 Music Row charted song and has played on more than 35 country music radio stations nationwide.

“People had reached out to us requesting it,” 4-H Council member Sandy Neukam said of the concert. “We thought we’d give it another try.”

Neukam said Shelburne had reached out to them on their Facebook page asking if he could perform. Neil McCoy, winner of the WBDC Country Showdown competition, will open for Shelburne at 8 p.m.

This year’s fair will feature the first-ever co-ed kickball tournament, which will be held at the Dubois County Park softball field.

Elementary school kids will get the first crack at the new tournament beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday (the weekend before the fair). Middle schoolers will play at noon, and high school teams play at 3 p.m. The tournaments will finish at 6 p.m., with the 4-H club teams.

Each team consists of eight to 12 players — half male, half female — with eight players on the field at a time. Games end in five innings or 45 minutes.

The new payouts for the demolition derby full size stock winners are $2,500 for first place, $750 for second place and $500 for third place. The first-place winner in the lawnmower division will receive $500, with second place receiving $200 and third place winning $100. Mini stock winners will receive $1,000 for first place, $500 for second place and $300 for third place.

“We are always looking for ways to provide a better show for our audience,” Reckelhoff said. “We used to have the largest demolition derby in Indiana, and we are trying to get back to that point.”

There is no admission to get into the fairgrounds nor is there a fee for parking, however, most events cost around $10 to participate.

“Everybody in the community comes together to have a good time,” said Lisa Wilson, 4-H youth educator for the Purdue Extension in Dubois County. “It’s a great community event, and you get to see all of the animals and projects the youth have been working on.”

The opening ceremony is at 5 p.m. Monday in the 4-H exhibit buildings 1 and 2. The ceremony is the official welcoming to the 4-H Fair, and will include games for kids and fun things to do for families. Wilson said the ceremony will last 15 to 30 minutes before opening the fairgrounds.

The fair will also include a free stage for bands and entertainment throughout the week. This includes performances from Latin American music group Grupo Guanaco, magician Jerry Frasier, musician Brandt Carmichael and Louisville band The Hiding.

There are 857 youth participating in 4-H this year, with 2,778 project and livestock entries for the fair. Exhibit buildings 1 and 2 are open every day of the fair from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

The fair will close on Friday with an awards ceremony recognizing 4-H graduates and those who received scholarships through the Dubois County Purdue Extension.

“We’ve listened to what the community has been asking for, and, hopefully, they will enjoy the changes we put in place,” Reckelhoff said. “We needed change, and we are hopeful that we can continue for years to come.”

See a full fair schedule here.

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