Ham judging underway as Boone County Fair prepares for opening

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BOONE COUNTY - Crews arrived at the Central Missouri Event Center before the sun rose Monday morning. They traveled overnight from Pleasant Hill to ensure the annual Boone County Fair had all the necessary pieces in place for its opening.

"You'd be amazed how some of this stuff tears down and sets up," Sonshine Amusments crew member Neil Shackles said. Only two rides stood in the open lot Monday morning, but Shackles said crews will work to finish setting up the rides, vendor stands and games throughout the day, after they get some sleep. While events began over the weekend, the carnival opens Tuesday at 4 p.m. 

Across the yard; however, country cured hams waited to be judged. Particiapants submitted the hams Sunday to be judged Monday morning. Judges give points for aroma, meatiness and color. The hams, which takes months to prepare, will be auctioned off Saturday. 

Jeff Cook is President of the Boone County Fair. He joined the fair's board 11 years ago, after his son began showing livestock at the fair with the 4-H. He said the Boone County Fair has seen many changes since he became involved.

"It's exciting bringing in different events throughout the years and seeing what the public likes and doesn't like," he said. "We went from a 10 day fair, to a 13 day fair, and now we're at a six day fair." 

Cook said he is most excited about the new dock diving dogs events. Judges will award points to the dogs for distance jumped, height reached or speed required to cover a portion of the dock and swimming to the end of a 40-foot pool.

Cook said he is looking forward to seeing the community come out for the fair this week, especially with Proposition EPIC slated on the August 4 ballot.

"With the EPIC 1/8 cents sales tax increase on the ballot, we hope people come out and see how important this facility is to the community for this week and for the other weeks out of the year," he said.

Supporters of the proposition want the money raised by the increase to fund recreation opportunities throughout the community and perserve the Central Missouri Events Center, home of the Boone County Fair.

This fair's schedule is stacked with events running through Saturday, July 26th. Tickets cost $10, but children under six are free. For a full list of the fesitvities follow this link