Bull riding debuts at Barbour Fair

Many fairgoers braved the wet weather Wednesday to enjoy the festivities- which included, for the first time, professional bull riding – at the Barbour County Fair.

After up to four inches of rain fell throughout the county, the Barbour County Fair proceeded as planned with a live performance by the Christian rock band Building 429 and, for the first time ever in Barbour County, professional bull riding from Southern Extreme Bull Riding Association (SEBRA). The event featured cowboys from 10 states, including one from St. Albans.

The bulls had been trained specifically for bull riding and each of the participating cowboys had the opportunity to earn points on the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) circuit. One of the “bull fighters” – also referred to as rodeo clowns – featured at the event was none other than Brett Carpenter, chief deputy for the Philippi Police Department. Carpenter was also the master of ceremonies for the event.

“This was an event that we had gotten in lieu of the second day of the demolition derby,” said Barbour County Sheriff John Hawkins, a coordinator of several fair events, including the SEBRA competition. “This is something that we haven’t had here before and it seemed like a good fit. We are excited to have them here.”

Despite the weather, many people came out and enjoyed themselves, though fair officials said the wet conditions were an unfortunate turn of events.

“That’s the one thing you can’t control,” Hawkins said regarding the weather. “This is a good turnout all things considered. We are happy to see those that did come out and enjoy themselves tonight.”

“With the concert, the bull riding and the other fair attractions, we expected a record-breaking turnout tonight,” said fair official Terry Wilfong. “It’s unfortunate that the weather turned so many people away.”

But the rain didn’t dampen the spirits for everyone.

“On nights like tonight people come more for the events rather than the rides,” said John Walsh of Gambill Amusement. “The rain doesn’t scare everyone away.”

“It’s been very fun so far,” said Callie Arbogast, Miss Barbour County Fair Queen 2013. “The bull riding is one of my favorite events of the fair.”

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Kendra Bright of Barbour County said about the bull riding event. “It’s been really fun.”

“I like it a lot here,” said Chelsea Booreman, who traveled from Clarksburg to attend the fair. “I came here to have fun with my friends and that’s what I’m doing.”

The fair continues Thursday and Friday with Nashville recording artists Greg Bates and Charlie Worsham respectively, and country music star John Michael Carroll on Saturday. Other events include a lawn and garden tractor pull on Saturday and a car and motorcycle show on Sunday, as well as carnival rides, games, concessions and much more. A full list of events is available at www.barbourcountyfair.com.

Contact Chad Clem by e-mail at cclem@theintermountain.com.