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June 17, 2014

Fairgrounds expansion gives county a shot at luring bucking bull event

DUNCAN — The expansion of the Stephens County Fair and Expo could be finished in August, giving county officials enough time to lure a bucking bull event they want to bring to Duncan, commissioners said on Monday.

Work already has begun on the 40,000 square-foot expansion, with holes dug, rebar set and concrete poured for the project’s pillars.

County commissioners, meeting on Monday at the courthouse, were told the American Bucking Bulls Inc. American Heritage event, held last weekend in Guthrie, wants to change venues and would consider coming to Stephens County.

That event could bring about 1,000 visitors to the area for three days.

The fairgrounds expansion will extend the covered arena southward and cost about $635,000 to build, Commissioner Dee Bowen said.

The project will create space for more livestock pens and a bigger warmup area for horsemen.

Last year, at the Rising Stars Calf Roping competition, some participants had to tie their horses outside to their trailers because all the covered stalls were occupied, Fairgrounds Director Mike Anderson said.

The calf roping event, a qualifying event for the national competition, will receive television coverage this year when it comes to Duncan.

“It’ll put Duncan on the map,” said Commissioner Dee Bowen of Comanche.

The fairgrounds brings about $6 million into the local economy,  Bowen said.

“Hopefully, we’ll get bigger events,” he said of the fairgrounds expansion.

Bowen and commissioner Lonnie Evans and Darrell Sparks voted Monday to spend $5,500 for a schematic design of the expansion project that also will depict future expansion that may be undertaken.         

Commissioners also voted to drill a water well at the fairgrounds to meet the increasing needs of the facility. The well will provide nonpotable water for livestock  and hosing down dirt to keep dust from blow and also save the county money by reducing the amount of water it buys from the City of Duncan, commissioners said.

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