Sea Lions and Expanded Rodeo Schedule on Display for 70th Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo


Fair favorite corndogs and candy apples will make their return to the Heart of Texas Fair & Rodeo October 6-16.

Rod Aydelotte, Tribun-Herald

The cowboys on horseback in downtown Waco this weekend will herald the return of the 70th Heart O’ Texas Fairgrounds and Rodeo, which will feature tried-and-true rides and a few new ones.

Fair officials on Tuesday gave local media a preview of this year’s event, which runs Oct. 6-16 at the Extraco Events Center. The event will see an expanded rodeo program and a new sea lion show, as well as the usual halfway carnival attractions, concerts, contests and food.

Even before the official start date, the livestock shows and competitions begin this Wednesday, with over 7,000 entries from over 5,000 participants. The heifer move will bring the fairgrounds to life at 8 a.m., and livestock shows will take place at the fairgrounds beginning with the Sullivan’s Stock Show U at 4:30 p.m.

Also new this year is the appearance this Saturday downtown of the HOT Cowboys, who will be handing out fairground and rodeo goodies from noon to 2:30 p.m.

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Melinda Adams, senior director of marketing and sponsorships at the Extraco Events Center, said downtown is changing and growing, but the fair has always existed “on its own little island.” By teaming up with Brazos Bluffs Ranch, the HOT Cowboys will bring some of the fun across town, she said.

Sneak-a-Peek Night on October 6 will officially open the fair with the HOT Shops Marketplace, bringing together over 100 vendors inside the base this year. The night will also host the first of many mutton bustin’ events at the Kids Zone, which Adams says typically sells out within the first 24 hours after tickets go live.

Admission on October 6 will be $5 and rides will be $2.

The Bud Light Stage will host a variety of performers, with opening acts beginning at 8 p.m. and headliners at 10 p.m. This year’s headliners include Giovannie & The Hired Guns, Aaron Watson and more.

For music lovers who like a smaller setting, starting Oct. 7, local musicians will play acoustic sets starting at 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Wine and Beer Garden.

The Hometown Stage, located inside the base, will feature local artists and performers throughout the week, including several dance groups, Baylor Mariachi and the Cutest Cowboy/Cowgirl contest.

Adams said fair officials are also looking forward to the new Sea Lion Splash, which will feature live sea lions and their trainers in an action-packed session that will require some audience participation.

Participants can catch the sea lions at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, or at 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Kids Zone.

Besides sea lions, other attractions this year include Swashchucklers Pirate Comedy Show and Swifty Swine Pig Races. All attractions and shows are included in admission tickets.

HOT Fair

The Heart of Texas Fair & Rodeo returns October 6-16 this year, with nine nights of rodeo.

Rod Aydelotte, Tribun-Herald

Instead of the traditional five nights, this year will feature nine nights of One HOT Rodeo events at the Extraco Coliseum. The PRCA License Finals will be held October 7-9, the RAM Texas Circuit Finals October 11-14, the Texas Chute Out Finals October 15 and the Mexican Rodeo Spectacular October 16. All rodeo events run from 7-9:30 a.m. and require reserved seating.

Public parking will be available at various lots surrounding the fairgrounds on Bosque Boulevard and Lake Air Drive for $10. Guests can enter from the front of the fairgrounds on Bosque Boulevard and be directed to the correct lot. The left turn from Lake Air Drive onto Bosque Boulevard will be closed and participants should not attempt to enter the field this way.


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