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2023 Lea County Fair & Rodeo Schedule of Events

Welcome To The


2023 Theme:
"Country Pride, County Wide"

AUGUST 4-12, 2023
Come enjoy the arts & crafts showcase, carnival, concerts, Xtreme Bulls Event, PRCA Rodeo, Livestock Shows, Commercial Vendors, and enjoy some of the best fair food in the area!

FREE ADMISSION until 5:00pm daily
Free 1st Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday All Day!
Adults (age 13 & Older) - $10.00 Children (age 6-12) - $5.00 Children 5 & Under - FREE

2023 Fair & Rodeo Dedication & In Memory

Dedication - Lea County Sheriff's Office

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The Lea County Sheriff’s Office was established in June 1917 after Governor Washington E. Lindsey appointed Stephen Ernest Best as the Lea County Sheriff. There have been 27 Sheriffs in Lea County over the past 106 years. In June 2018, Sheriff Corey Helton became the 28th Sheriff after winning the primary election. Since then, the Sheriff’s Office has been committed to providing professional law enforcement services to Lea County and being significantly involved in community outreach.

The Sheriff’s Office covers nearly 4,400 square miles and serves 74,455 citizens. Municipalities and townships in the county receive law enforcement support from the Sheriff’s Office as needed. The Sheriff’s Office is responsible for the security of the 5th Judicial District Judicial Complex, the transportation of state prisoners throughout the United States, and the enforcement and service of court orders.

The Sheriff’s Office has grown to 81 commissioned deputies consisting of Patrol Operations, Court Security and Prisoner Transports, Civil, Training and Recruiting, and Criminal Investigations. The divisions consist of specialized units: SWAT, canine, traffic, SORNA, and public information. An area of focus was collaborating with other law enforcement partners within Lea County and surrounding counties. This was accomplished by establishing the Lea County Regional SWAT team, consisting of members from the Sheriff’s Office, Jal, and Lovington Police Departments. The Sheriff’s Office is also the fiscal agent for the Lea County Drug Task Force, consisting of agents from the Sheriff’s Office, Eunice, and Lovington Police Departments.

Two significant accomplishments were establishing the Lea County Sheriff’s Posse and the Lea County Sheriff’s Explorer Program. Each program is focused on building community trust by having volunteers from our community serve in various capacities. Their involvement includes providing law enforcement services, volunteering at nonprofit organizations, participating in community events, and providing food and services at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo.

The Sheriff’s Office is committed to providing exceptional training to its personnel, so they are prepared for anything they encounter. In addition, the latest technologies have been implemented to ensure the successful prosecution and prevention of crimes.

The Lea County Sheriff’s Office has and will always be committed to providing services to the Lea County Fair and Rodeo. The Fair and Rodeo highlight the year for the Sheriff’s Office staff and volunteers.

Dedication - Lovington Police Department

The Lovington Police Department has evolved tremendously over the last 115 years. Lovington came into existence in 1908 and was no different than other small budding towns, they needed someone to enforce laws and ordinances. In the beginning there were constables and town marshals such as C.M. Bullard who was constable in 1914, his deputy constable was C.M. Burks. The first name on a list of former Lovington Chiefs of Police was Harry Hinneber but the history on him is a little cloudy.

It is known that Hinneber was a Town Marshal from May 15, 1918 to June 11, 1919 but the words Chief of Police are nowhere to be found. Shortly after Harry Hinneber was “dismissed” by the Village Trustees, R.W. Keenum took over as Town Marshal.

The first recorded Chief was William J. Pruit who served from July 11, 1919 to July 13, 1921.Much of his time as Chief, Pruit was half the police force, the other half was a night policeman/night watchman. Those early paychecks for the Chief were in the neighborhood of $80 to $110 a month and a little over half that amount for the night policeman/watchman. The police car in those early days was the Chief’s as well as his night policeman’s privately owned vehicle and they were given a gallon of gas a day to perform their duties. Up into the 1940s the Chief was given up to $50 a month for gasoline and car maintenance.

In December 1938 the town trustees decided the Chief of Police needed a uniform, without any input from the Chief his new uniform consisted of an olive drab suit, an Army officers’ hat and a new badge.

There was no official police building, the Chief worked out of his house and was given a small telephone allowance to offset the monthly expense. In mid-1940 the city had a red light mounted on top of the courthouse as an emergency signal for the police.

In August of 1941 the town trustees authorized the Chief having 12 auxiliary police officers. Those appointed were: Wesley Allen; W.E. Mayberry; Roy McAdams; Albert Spradling; Ben Clinch; Troy Warren; Jim Beverly; Justin Adams; Joe Smith; Woodrow Woods; Dale Phillips and Tom Johnson.

In 1941 a fire station was built at 119 South Love Street just south of the Hotel, the southwest corner of the building was the police station. There was even a small jail cell in the back of the fire/police station. Later, this building also housed city hall after an addition was constructed on the north side of the fire station. By 1942 the Chief of Police was making $1518 a year and his officer was making $533 annually.

In 1950 the city of Lovington bought its first official police car. A call for bids was put out and the low bidder was Jackson Chevrolet, that brand new Chevrolet car cost the city $677.10.

The police department remained in the same building with the fire department until April of 1962 when a new police department and city hall was built across Love Street and a block south at 214 S. Love. This building housed the police department, city hall and the MVD.

Then once again, as in the past the Lovington Police Department out grew its working space and had to move. In 1984 the P.D. moved across the street into a new, larger and more up to date facility and that is where they are today. As in their beginning so many years ago, the Lovington Police Department and Fire Department are sharing a building.

The Lovington Police Department would like to thank Mr. David Minton for his help and input on this project.

Dedication - Trey Kerby

Trey Kerby was born in Hobbs, New Mexico in 1981 to Lee Ann Williams and Scott Kerby. He is a lifelong resident of Lea County. From an early age he has attended and loved the Fair and Rodeo. Growing up he spent many hours in the livestock arena helping friends, enjoying the rodeo, and riding in the grand entry. While in high school Trey worked for Jeff Medlin where he learned to team rope and enjoyed entering the Lea County Local Team Roping.

After high school Trey studied auto mechanics and then went to work for Angell Ranch. In 2006 Trey married Kelly Lewellen and they started TK Ranch. They have 2 children, Kooper and Tessa Kerby, who are very active at the ranch, with 4-H and FFA. Trey is a supportive parent to his children helping over the years with various 4-H and FFA livestock projects, shooting events, and Queen contests.

Trey joined the Lea County Rodeo committee and served for 4 years before being appointed to the Fair Board. Trey served as the Fair Board Vice-Chairman and Rodeo committee Chairman for 6 years.

Trey credits his hard work to his western heritage. His passion is to share and educate others on the western lifestyle he has been blessed with and continue his dedication to the success of the Lea County Fair and Rodeo. The Kerby family would like to say “Thank You” to the Lea County Fair and Rodeo Board. Trey would also like to thank the board members that he served with, the Rodeo committee that he spent so much time with and the friends in the office that he could not have done without, but most importantly Trey wants to thank Kelly, Kooper, and Tessa for all their sacrificing over the last 10 years to allow him to spend so much time on the best Fair and Rodeo around.

Dedication - Clyde Wilhoit

Clyde was born in Portales, New Mexico to Lowel and Maxine Wilhoit in 1958, the fifth of six children. He is brother to Johnanna Rush, Dennis Wilhoit, Shirley Brown, Andy Wilhoit (deceased), and Walter Wilhoit. He graduated from Portales High School in 1976, there he was involved in 4-H and FFA. He and his siblings were involved with livestock and showed animals at Roosevelt County Fair, New Mexico State Fair, and Eastern New Mexico State Fair. He attended Eastern New Mexico University and in 1978 moved to Lovington and went to work for Lea County Livestock as yard manager.

He has two sons, Andy and Trace Wilhoit, that participated in 4-H and FFA all through their school years. The boys showed multiple species and competed in Lea County Fair, New Mexico State Fair, Eastern New Mexico State Fairs and multiple jackpots.

Clyde married Mary Jane Hand in 2021 and acquired two bonus children, Jimmy Hand, Jr. and Kidra Hand. A devoted father and grandfather with 10 grandchildren whom he loves dearly, Aryana, Andrew, Caden, Rhett, River, and Rowyn Wilhoit, Mackenzie and Myah Hand and Izabella and Vincente Hand-Moreno.

Clyde was a 4-H Leader for several years helping and influencing kids to become responsible young adults. In 2000 he was appointed as swine superintendent and served there until 2020 when he was appointed livestock superintendent. A kind smile and a helping hand would best describe him.

Clyde and Mary Jane have long been supporters of the Lea County Fair and Rodeo, New Mexico State Fair, and Eastern New Mexico State Fair, where Clyde expresses his opinion about the priceless things he has learned over the many years.

The youth of Lea County have always been dear to him and he would like to thank the parents, leaders, volunteers, and the Lea County Fair Board for their dedication. Clyde and his family would like to thank the Lea County Fair Board for honoring him and his many years of service.

Dedication - Rebecca Long

Rebecca Long grew up in Lovington and is a proud Lea County resident.

Rebecca was elected as the Lea County Commissioner for District 2 and served from January 2015 to December 2022.

She started her insurance business 41 years ago and she also holds 3 patents for her invention—At Last Makeup Mirror.

As a County Commissioner, she and her fellow commissioners approved millions of dollars to fund the improvements to the Fair and Rodeo grounds that you’ve seen over the last 8 years.

She sends out a huge “THANK YOU” to the Lea County Fair Board & County staff for the thousands of hours they spend every year putting together the best Fair and Rodeo around!

Rebecca is thankful to have grown up in a small town and is proud of her part in helping the Fair and Rodeo grow into the large professional event it is today.

As a Lea County Commissioner, Rebecca was also elected as President of New Mexico Counties and served on the National Association of Counties as a board member on the Energy, Environment and Land Use Committee.

One of the highlights of Rebecca’s 8 year term as a County Commissioner was attending the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference in 2020 in Washington, DC where she was invited on stage by our 45th American President, Donald J Trump to discuss oil and gas and American Energy Independence. Now that was one awesome moment!

Rebecca is thankful for the support of her husband Steve Matlock, her mother Betty Long, sister Deb Long and brother-in-law Tim Cummings.

Rebecca also sends out a heartfelt “Thank you” to the voters in District 2 for electing her to be their representative on this amazing 8 year journey.

Working with her fellow Commissioners, the Lea County Manager, Assistant County Manager, County Attorney and staff was a wonderful experience and she is thankful for their time spent together working to make Lea County the best County in New Mexico!

Dedication - Mary McClure

Mary McClure has been so active in cultural and community life in Lovington and Lea County for so long that it is sometimes easy to forget that dozens of her family members have lived here and served the Lea community since 1909. That is when her grandparents, Pat and Cynthia McClure, moved to the little community of Midway east of Lovington.

Mary’s father was Elbert (Slim) and her mother was Imogene. Their home was always in Lea County’s seat of government. Mary’s mother, who passed away a few years ago, was Imogene, and the two of them stayed close all their lives. Her sister is Julia Myers, who also still lives in Lea.

Born in 1950 in Lovington and a 1969 graduate of Lovington High School, Mary has spent her life being such a permanent part of the community. Mary is just about everywhere, and she has served so many public organizations and committees, it would take a computer to list them all. She could appropriately be crowned queen of town and county supporters.

Mary’s legendary cowboy uncle was honored when his name was chosen for the Fair and Rodeo Arena.

Folks years from now will remember the fiddling musical artists who have played in Lea, and they will know it was Mary McClure who has for many years brought them from far and wide to Lea County. Mary has been a part of the Fiddler’s contest since the early 1980’s. She is the Lea County Fair Fiddle Master and Hostess for over 40 years.

Dedication - Bobby Shaw

Bobby Shaw, Qualifying broker of Bobby Shaw Realty has provided the Lea County area with his 40 years of knowledge of real estate. During this time, Bobby has worked as a Full Service Broker in dealing with residential and commercial properties. Bobby is well equipped to offer his expertise in residential housing, residential lots and vacant land sales. His knowledge of the commercial and industrial areas, allow him to enter into farm and ranch sales, horse properties, water rights, along with assisting with the development of vacant properties into new subdivisions.

Bobby was raised in Hobbs and graduated from Hobbs High School in 1970. Throughout Bobby’s adult life, he has contributed, and continues to devote many hours to different Boards and Committees. He has been the past President or Chairman of the following: City of Hobbs and Lea County Planning and Zoning Boards, Hobbs Chamber of Commerce and the Lea County Humane Society. Bobby has served as either a Committee member or Board member of the Lea County Road Advisory Board, the Lea County Fair and Rodeo Board, Lea County Housing Board, PRCA National Steer Roping Finals Board and the Humphrey House Board. Even while contributing his time to the above, he also serves on the Boys & Girls Club Board and the Hobbs Association of Realtors Board. Bobby is also involved with the Hobbs Community Theater, Commission for Arts and heads up the Hobbs Buyer’s Club each year in securing monies for the livestock exhibitors during the annual Sale of Champions held during the Lea County Fair & Rodeo.

In Memory of - Mary Dobry

Mary Dobry began riding and training horses as a child with her father and performed trick riding acts at rodeos across the country, including Madison Square Garden. In 1986, Mary turned a closed business into a prime eating establishment known as Rancher’s Steakhouse and Buffet in Hobbs. Years later, she began a premier breeding ranch for registered Red Angus, known as Lazy D Ranch. She won many national shows for her genetics and was awarded the Lifetime Member Award from the Red Angus Association. Mary was a proud supporter of the youth in Lea County, along with the Lea County Fair and Rodeo. She generously donated buckles and purchased animals in the Sale of Champions. Mary was a true woman of agriculture and has left her legacy to continue through her family.

In Memory of - Mark Daugherty

Mark Daugherty was born on April 27, 1960 in Roswell, New Mexico. He attended Elida High School, where he met his wife, Sandy, and then graduated in 1978. He then went on to receive his Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture in 1983 and his Master of Arts degree in Agricultural Extension Education in 1990 from New Mexico State University. He served the Tatum Municipal School District as their Ag teacher and FFA advisor for 24 years. Most recently he received the honor of being inducted into the New Mexico Ag Teacher Hall of Fame at NMSU. His greatest joys in life were his grandchildren and going fishing. Mark’s 3 children, Amanda, Sean, and Breanna, showed pigs, steers, dairy heifers, rabbits, goats, and sheep at the Lea County Fair throughout their school years. He also helped numerous families and students from all over the county with their show animals. He made an impact on thousands of people over his life and will never be forgotten. The Tatum FFA program consistently ranked as one of the best in the state because of his and Sandy’s efforts and dedication in and out of the classroom inspiring and motivating students to strive for success.

In Memory of - Bill Gray

October 2, 1929—September 26, 2021

John William (Bill) Gray’s zest for life will be remembered with love and respect.

Bill Gray was a teacher and a great coach. He loved working with young people. His life was spent in the arena. Rodeo was his passion that he shared freely with many.

His life was about hard work and perfection.

He is survived by his college sweetheart and wife of 65 years, Roma Boggs Gray; two sons, Russ and Pamela, and Ross and Pat Gray; three grandchildren, TiAda Gray, Tierra Zaplac and husband Reid, Jacob Martin and wife Keysha; two great-grandchildren, Jabri and Kasyn Martin; and many people whose lives were changed by his courageous spirit.

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