A mixture of Spring Break and winter temperatures drove hundreds to the Brownwood Coliseum for the Lone Star State Fair and Rattlesnake Roundup Expo.
Wild west showman Loop Rawlins headlined this year’s event with multiple shows Friday, Saturday and Sunday as well as dangerous feats from The Rattlesnake Corp, a group of Jaycees teaching deadly snake awareness with the expo being the organization’s largest annual fundraiser.
“If you think rattlesnakes, then what is the first thing that comes to mind?” 2019 Lone Star State Fair and Expo Organizer Erika Stumpfrock said. “Westerns, cowboys, being out in the dessert – you think country. That’s where the animals are. That’s where the snakes are. If we’re talking about the country, then why not bring in a cowboy. He does a lot of tricks and it fits the theme.”
The Brownwood Junior Chamber also known as Jaycees is a leadership training and civic organization for people between the ages of 18 and 41. In Brown County, they contribute to a myriad of philanthropic efforts including recently assisting with restoration of tablet commemorating area veterans at the 36 h Division Memorial Park in Brownwood.
“This is one of our main fundraisers and events. With the proceeds from this, we’re able to help the community and anyone who asks us. We have an account, but the money is not for us,” Stumpfrock said. “The money raised here is for the people – the community. When the stones at the memorial park blew over and were broken, we had the money to donate toward that. Also, last year, we had money to donate to build a playground at the worship center, which is the Jack Ruth Memorial Playground. It’s nice to be able to help people if they ask or need it.”
Stumpfrock described Friday’s turnout as significant and forecast it would only improve throughout the weekend. That may come as a relief considering this is the first year she oversaw the event and the tens of thousands of dollars exchanged between visitors, venders and the Jaycees.
“For the first year, it’s like being thrown into the pit yourself. I kept saying to myself ‘you have to breathe and stay calm – breath and stay calm.’ It’s quite challenging, but looking at the turnout everyone is here and having fun. I was just over at the snake pit and when I law the kid walk up to loop there was a wonder in his eyes. It was an aha moment. It made it worth all of this.”
The Lone Star State Fair and Expo wraps up Sunday with Rawlins performing at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. with The Rattlesnake Corp giving their final performance at 1:30 p.m.