FREESTONE COUNTY FAIR ASSOCIATION

HISTORY SUMMARY

By Kelly L. Tyus

“Looking Through the Past to Find the Future"

1915

In 1915, a small group of progressive Teague citizens met at the City Hall and organized a County Fair – the first one.  The date was set for December 15, 1915 and the arrangement was made for one day only. Owing to unfavorable conditions, another one was not attempted for four years being held Dec. 26, and 27, 1919 on 4th Avenue in Teague.

Ref: The Teague Chronicle, dated 09.12.1924, page 1.

 

On April 14, 1919, the livestock men of Freestone County organized a permanent organization in Fairfield, Texas known as the FREESTONE COUNTY LIVESTOCK ASSOCIATION. These men were A. P. Carter, Joe A. Bonner, Van Hook Stubbs, R. M. Thompson, W. E. Riley, Dave Alderman, Clabe Evans and John Bounds.

The Ref: The Teague Chronicle, dated 04.18.1919, page 1.

 

In 1919, “The flu has practically paralyzed business all over Freestone County.”

Ref: The Fairfield Recorder, dated 09.24.1936.

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1920

On July 9, 1920, The Freestone County Livestock Association organized a permanent FREESTONE COUNTY FAIR ASSOCIATION in Teague, Texas based on the following resolutions:

BEING THE FIRST SET OF BYLAWS:

1. That this Fair or Association shall be known as the Freestone County Fair Association.

2. There shall be elected five directors from the county at large and two corresponding

    directors, one man and one woman from each voting precinct in the county.

3. Three directors shall constitute a quorum.

4. There shall be a President, one or more Vice Presidents and a Secretary-Treasurer.

Ref: The Teague Chronicle, dated July 16, 1920   

1922

On September 26,27,28, 1922, the first Freestone County Fair organized by the Freestone County Fair Association was held in Teague, Texas.

Ref: The Fairfield Recorder, dated June 16, 1922, page 1.

Ref: The Teague Chronicle, dated 09.18.1947, “25 Years Ago”.

 

The first FCFA Officers were: President A. P. Carter; Vice President A. L. George; Secretary Tilden L. Childs and Treasurer R. M. Thompson. Directors were Johnnie S. Ivy, T. J. Fortenberry; James Vastine Bounds, T. B. Connell, S. M. Corley and Roger Young.

 

From 1922 to 1939, the Freestone County Fair Association held the annual Freestone County Fair and Rodeo in Teague.  (Ref: Newspaper articles published in The Teague Chronicle and The Fairfield Recorder)

 

During this time, the Freestone County Livestock Association held a fair and rodeo in Fairfield known as the Freestone County 4-H Boys Club and Livestock Show.

(Ref: Newspaper articles published in The Teague Chronicle and The Fairfield Recorder)

1924

In 1924, the FIRST PARADE, in the history of the Fair, was the opening feature of the Freestone County Fair in Teague. 

(Ref: The Fairfield Recorder, Dated,  09.05.1924.)

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1924

In 1924, the FIRST FREESTONE COUNTY FAIR QUEEN was Lillian Lancaster escorted by King Ray Floyd White.            

(Ref: The Fairfield Recorder, dated 09.19.1924, page 1.)

Pictures courtesy of Burlington-Rock Island Railroad Museum, Teague, Texas

1927

In 1927, the Trinity River Bridge was completed and opened connecting Freestone and Anderson counties.           

(Ref: The Fairfield Recorder, dated 09.02.1927, page 1.)

 

Also in 1927, Highway 7 (currently Hwy 84) in Fairfield was paved with concrete.

(Ref: The Fairfield Recorder, dated 10.07.1927, page 1.)

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From 1929 – 1937, during the “DEPRESSION YEARS”, the Freestone County Fair Association

DID NOT hold its annual county fair during these years.

 

In 1938, “After a lapse of sixteen years, Freestone County will again have a fair on October 26 in Teague.”                     

(Ref: The Teague Chronicle, dated 09.22.1938, page 1.)

1939

OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS ELECTED.

Officers Elected:           Ref: The Teague Chronicle, dated 03.09.1939, page 1.

President:        J. B. Hearne, Jr

Vice Pres:        R. M. Senter, Jr.          

Sec/Tres:         Wm. J. Stringer

J. W. Richards, Jr. and K. D. Willingham

“to constitute the other two members of the Executive Committee of five members.”


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Directors Elected:        Ref: The Teague Chronicle, dated 11.17.1938, page 1.

Dr. J. D. Davidson                                T. E. Martin                                     J. C. Boyd

E. E. York                                                 Marvin Senter                              J. G. Smith

E. B. Ham                                                E. H. Watson, Jr.                         O. B. Adams

Wm. J. Stringer                                    J. S. Baggett                                 J. W. Curry

K. D. Willingham                                  L. W. Lee                                         Alex Bradshaw

J. W. Richards, Jr.                               J. B. Daniel                                     Carter Wills

Bob Compton                                      Dr. A. D. McDonald                     W. T. Hopson

B. P. Compton                                      J. R. Sessions                                L. L. Hunter

Robert F. Riley                                     Roy Simmons                                J. B. Sandifer

J. B. Hearne, Jr.                                   W. R. Patton                                  N. H. Chaney

Lloyd Webb                                          R. S. Gilliam                                    L. G. Emmons

L. Notley                                                 A. V. Kelley                                     J. D. Maupin

N. W. Bendy                                         Mrs. Mayme Day                         L .C. Kirgan

H. C. McMichael, Jr.                          Mrs. Oscar Johnson                  Clyde George

F. G. Peyton                                          Mrs. Lex Smith                             Horace Sheffield

Noel Hollingsworth                           Mrs. W. J. Stringer                      H. G. West

R. H. Sewell                                          Mrs. J. T. Hudgins                       Miss Gladys Mires

B. L. Seely                                             Mrs. Horace Sheffield              Miss Eva Tidwell

R. T. Kerr                                                Mrs. Alice Martin                        Miss Ruth Senter

Taylor Rhodes                                    Mrs. Roy Worthy                         Miss Shelma Carlile

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1940-1947

From 1940 to 1946, The “World WAR II YEARS”. The Freestone County Fair Association DID NOT hold its annual county fair.  (Ref: The Teague Chronicle, Dated 05.29.1947 and 06.26.1947)

 

In 1947, the Freestone County Fair Association voted unanimously at a special called meeting to change the date for the FIRST COUNTY FAIR IN TEAGUE SINCE THE WAR to September 4-6.

(Ref: The Teague Chronicle, dated 06.05.1939, page 1.)

 

“The Freestone County Fair and Rodeo closed a successful three days in Teague, Saturday night with an estimated 9,000 attendance for the first of the annual event since before wartime”.  The Miss Freestone County Queen was Jean Paul of Teague.            

(Ref: The Teague Chronicle, dated 09.11.1947, front page.)

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1951-1953

FREESTONE COUNTY CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION in FAIRFIELD SEPTEMBER 2-5, 1951.  

(Ref: The Teague Chronicle, dated 08.23.1951)

In 1952, the Freestone County Fair Association sponsored the “Corn Production Contest” was held in Teague.

 

From 1947 to 1952, the Freestone County Fair Association held the annual Freestone County Fair and Rodeo in Teague, Texas.

 (Ref: Newspaper articles published in The Teague Chronicle and The Fairfield Recorder)

 

During the 1947 to 1953 years, the Freestone County Livestock Association held a fair and rodeo in Fairfield known as the Freestone County 4-H Boys Club and Livestock Show.

(Ref: Newspaper articles published in The Teague Chronicle and The Fairfield Recorder)

1947

In 1947, the FIRST PREMIUM BOOKLET WAS PRINTED. Up until this time the rules and premium list was printed in The Teague Chronicle newspaper.    

(Ref: The Teague Chronicle, dated 08.21.1947, page 1.)

 

On May 26, 1947, W. L. Moody Jr. deeded the 14 ½ acres to the City of Fairfield, Texas. The Deed was filed at the Freestone County Clerk’s office on October 21, 1948.

 

“. . .  be continued as a Memorial to the Confederate States of America, and as a memorial to the veterans of World War I and World War II, of the United States of America, and that such land shall be designated as “W. L. Moody Camp, Memorial Park” and that the City of Fairfield, by and through its City Council, administer and supervise the use of such property, for the purpose for which it was originally dedicated and for which it is now dedicated.

 

On September 12, 1947, the Freestone County Livestock Association held the Freestone County Boys Club and Livestock Show in Fairfield. The FIRST LIVESTOCK SALE was held.

Ref: The Fairfield Recorder, dated 09.18.1947, front page.

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1954

In May 1954, the Fairfield businessmen were also interested in improving the fairgrounds in Fairfield to accommodate the fair and rodeo. These men were Rankin Gilpin, Sam Carroll, Roger Ivy, L.J. Davis and B.G. Capps, Jr. The committee presented plans to the Fairfield City Council and reported having sold $2,300 in “Faith Bonds” with another $2,000 addition pledged for construction of permanent facilities at the fairgrounds.

 

The repairs and improvements included a new lighting system, repairs on bleachers and livestock pens at the rodeo arena, constructing exhibit and concession buildings, a food booth and rebuilding the old pavilion after a recent fire.

 

Many old fashioned “brush arbor” family camps were constructed.     

(Ref:  The Fairfield Recorder, Dated May 20, 1954, front page.)

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1939

NEW rodeo pens were built in Teague for the forthcoming Freestone County Fair.

(Ref: The Teague Chronicle, dated 06.29.1939, page 1.)

 

The new 218-foot grandstand on the west side of the arena was completed.

(Ref: The Teague Chronicle, dated 09.21.1939, page 1)

 

The FC Fair and Rodeo offered a CASH PREMIUM of $360 to the farmers and livestock raisers in the county.

 

The FIRST CARNIVAL to be held at the FC Fair was “the Flying Millers, a well-known carnival”.                   

(Ref: the Teague Chronicle, date 08.17.1939, page 1.)

 

Two BOOSTER TRIPS (Local merchants in an automobile caravan) with the Teague band and FC Fair representatives of the Rodeo Committee talking about the rodeo traveled to Teague, Freestone, Donie, Dew, Buffalo, Oakwood, Fairfield, Mexia, Wortham, Richland, Streetman, and Kirvin. The merchants were requested to have banners stating their name and business on the sides of their cars, and they were permitted to hand out souvenirs advertising their business. Everyone going on the trip was urged to wear something suggestive of the rodeo: big hats, gaudily colored shirts and neckerchiefs, chaps, highheeled boots etc.

Ref: The Teague Chronicle, dated 09.14.1939, page 1.

 

Fairfield held the Freestone County 4-H Club and Livestock Show.

Highway 7 (now Hwy 84) downtown Fairfield was a single concrete lane with dirt “city streets”.

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1954-1955

In1954, the Freestone County Fair Association held the FIRST Freestone County Fair and Rodeo in Fairfield on August 26, 27 and 28th at the W. L. Moody Camp Memorial Park. Governor Allan Shivers lead the parade.  

(Ref: The Fairfield Recorder, dated 08.19.1954, front page.)

The 1955 FC Queen Emma Jean Ivy and the 1956 FC Queen Margaret Ann Ivy were the FIRST “Sisters” to become FC Queens.           

"The Queen Coronation made almost as much in one night

as the rodeo did in two nights.” Mrs. Tolar

 

 From the collection of Mrs. Margaret Ann Ivy Tolar

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1920

On July 9, 1920, The Freestone County Livestock Association organized a permanent FREESTONE COUNTY FAIR ASSOCIATION in Teague, Texas based on the following resolutions:

BEING THE FIRST SET OF BYLAWS:

1. That this Fair or Association shall be known as the Freestone County Fair Association.

2. There shall be elected five directors from the county at large and two corresponding

    directors, one man and one woman from each voting precinct in the county.

3. Three directors shall constitute a quorum.

4. There shall be a President, one or more Vice Presidents and a Secretary-Treasurer.

Ref: The Teague Chronicle, dated July 16, 1920   

1989

In 1989, a sign was unveiled naming the livestock show arena after ISIAH “IKE” CARDEN PAVILION, a former Freestone County Agent who was involved in helping Freestone County youths for many years. The “pipe” was donated by XTO and labor donated by McLeod Construction.                 

(Ref: The Teague Chronicle, dated 08.17.1989) 

 

In 1990, the LAST rodeo in the old arena at the Moody Reunion fairgrounds in Fairfield was held.

 

Mr. Ivy, a native of Freestone County, was a FCFA member from 1954-1990; a rodeo pickup man from 1954-1956; the Rodeo Chairman 1954-1964; and provided the rodeo stock for the FCFA rodeos from 1969 – 1990.

                                

BRADFORD IVY was nationally known as a Rodeo Stock Producer.

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In 2000, The Freestone County Fair Association dedicated the Freestone County Youth Rodeo to  the memory of YATES MANAHAN.

In 1991, the NEW “City of Fairfield Rodeo Arena” held its first rodeo.

(Ref: Nadine Ivy Phillips)

In 1993, the Freestone County Fair Association voted to move the Freestone County Fair date from August to June. The 1994 fair was held in June.

(Ref: The Fairfield Recorder, dated 10.21.1993, front page.)

 

 

After 1998, the cattle barn at the fairgrounds was dedicated

as the DON WATKINS CATTLE BARN

in memory of Don Watkins 1940 – 1998.

 

In the 2000 Fair Book, GLEN WREN and SUEL HILL, who played a big part in establishing the Freestone County Fair and Rodeo, were recognized.

 

 

The Fuller sisters, Madison and Mallory, former natives of Fairfield, won the Miss Texas Title.

Madison entered the Miss Texas Pageant as Miss Dallas and Mallory as Miss Collievillie.   Madison was also crowned Miss Teen Freestone County in 2010. They are the daughters of Jina and Mike Fuller and granddaughters of Gloria and Jerry Robinson.

 

 

 

           Madison Fuller                                                                     Mallory Fuller

              2018 Miss Texas                                                                2021 Miss Texas

 

In 2020, due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the rodeo, carnival and queen’s coronation were cancelled. Only the Livestock Show and Livestock Sale were held.         (Local knowledge)

 

In 2021, the Parade, Carnival, Rodeo, Livestock Show and Livestock Sale were held. The queen’s coronation was cancelled due to lack of interested girls.    (Local knowledge)

 

RODEO LIVESTOCK PRODUCERS:

 

1922 – 1947:   "ANY BUCKIN HORSE"

1948 – 1960:   Roland Reid                Reid Rodeo Co.            Hillsboro/Ft Worth

1961 – 1968:  L J Huffman                 Huffman Rodeo Co.    Lorena/Waco

1969 – 1990:   Bradford Ivy                Ivy Rodeo Co.              Fairfield  

1991 –             Lynn Bottoms              Hat Brand Rodeo Co. Buffalo/Corsicana

                        Bob Champion            Champion Rodeo Co.  Buffalo

2017 – 2022:   Jason Murray              J & J Rodeo Co.           Cooper

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In 2006, the CANOPY constructed over the bleachers on the north side of the Ike Carden Pavilion was donated by TXU Power. (Ref: The Fairfield Recorder, dated 06.06.2006)

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History's Notables