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Clark County Fair and Rodeo Draws In Next Generation Fair Goers

5/27/2013

By Tiffany Chaney

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In Logandale, Nevada, the Clark County Fair and Rodeo spans four days, Thursday, April 11 to Sunday, April 14, in 2013. Attendance increased 25% from last year, reaching 78,720. "It was not a record, but it was successful. Our highest numbers have been at 84,000," said Kevin Willard, Fair Manager. The show has been challenged by everything from rain to snow over the last few years, but this year the weather held.

In addition to the weather, the increase in attendance was also credited to a new marketing campaign.

The fair and rodeo focuses an average of 60% of their annual advertising budget on radio.  They give away ticket packages on air for added mentions. A new ticket package included a "fair deal," where on Thursday and Friday attendees could come to the fair and get a half day pass ride from 12:00 PM-6:00 PM for $23.00. "Thursday is typically not the biggest day for us, but we saw an increase in traffic with this promotion," said Willard..

In recent years, the marketing campaign also focused on social media, such as Facebook.  The show would list "teasers" and give users a limited time to respond to a post to get free tickets. Additionally, the show asked users to submit their favorite fair experience as a promotion: "If you get more than 50 likes on your favorite fair experience, you gain tickets to the concert or rodeo. Response was bigger than we thought it'd be. Up over 12,000 in terms of  [online] traffic just from that promotion. We will continue to be aggressive. For our market it seems a good way to reach out," said Willard, who also offered his insight on promoting the fair to the younger market. "I'm older and this is just my opinion, but a lot of fairs are dying out because they're not reaching the younger customer. The fair business does seem to encompass the older crowd, and social media seems to be the way to get the next generation involved." The Rodeo also used text messaging to market the event.   Customers could  elect to receive text message updates regarding the show on their phones.

A big draw for the event are the popular stage acts, which seem to be successful in drawing in the crowds. "Western Underground put on a great show, but we also had Gwen Sebastian on the Plaza Stage [on Friday and Saturday nights]. She was on The Voice last season, with Blake Shelton as her coach. She's been opening for him and has an album coming out. She's really good, and some people knew who she was from The Voice. So, we got some mileage out of that," said Willard, adding that for even the smaller stage shows, "We had three sets of bleachers out and it was so crowded we had to double that."

In addition to the concerts, the Clark County Fair and Rodeo offers a lot of other great attractions. There were exhibitions focusing on crafts, art, photography, science, industrial arts, horticulture, small animals, and the livestock show. Vendors are selected through an open application process.  Customers look forward to the great food offerings including Texas barbecue, as well as your standard burgers, hotdogs, and even Italian Sausage. The Clark County Fair and Rodeo has joined the ranks of twenty-two of the best Rodeos in the country, as part of the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour. This year over 500 of the nation's best Rodeo athletes came to compete for more than $250,000.00 in prize money, competing in Tie-Down roping, Steer Wrestling and the Team Roping. There was also a junior rodeo which included Mutton Bustin..

After a successful year, the show gathered a lot of memories on Facebook from fans. One message posted on April 16  can be used as an example: "On opening morning of the fair a young boy and his parent went through the main ticket gate, the young boy raised both arms high in the air with his fist clinched and yelled, "Let the Fun Begin!' "

In 1965, then known as the Moapa Valley Fair, the Rodeo was held at the Overton Community Center.  The event became the Clark County Fair and Rodeo in 1988. The Clark County Fair and Rodeo is truly a community event with over 500 volunteers working to ensure a good time is had by all.

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