Storm takes a bite out of Central South Dakota as it rolls in from the northwest late Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Macy Schock

Weather almost stole the show

If extreme heat was making the news during the Sully County Fair in 2018, then intermittent rain grabbed the limelight in 2019.

A thunderstorm watch issued midafternoon last Tuesday, August 6, manifested by early evening with large hail falling over a wide area. Crops northwest of Agar that earlier in the day promised a bountiful harvest were flattened, and buildings and vehicles damaged by the hail, with Agar, Blunt, and the Canning area being particularly hard hit.

The Bar Stool Boys drew a nice crowd to the fairgrounds Thursday evening, with many enjoying their acoustical country music renditions and the watermelon feed and outdoor movie that followed.

The exhibitors pouring into the fairgrounds Friday morning arrived to calm clear weather, but by noon rain ranging in intensity from light sprinkles to gully-washers began falling. The inflatable carnival set up as planned on Friday with not many partaking the fun. The kids play day, corn-hole tournament, and pedal pull activities went on as scheduled Friday afternoon, but Friday’s cow pattie bingo game was cancelled, as was the fish-fry held for rodeo participants by the back pens adjacent to the arena. A Facebook post assured that Friday’s performance of the Catfish Stampede ‘Rodeo will go on rain or shine!!’

Fair weather arrived Saturday, giving fairgoers a near picture-perfect day to enjoy the alumni breakfast at the Phoenix Center, Kaelie’s Kolor Run, the Dakota Riders extravaganza, and kickball tournament. For the littlest set, the stick horse rodeo was held near the 4-H building.

The Peterson Farm Brothers drew another large crowd to the fairgrounds stage where they performed their parody music and advocated for family farms for over an hour.

A much larger contingent enjoyed the fun offered by the inflatable carnival and laser tag games during the warm temps that favored Saturday afternoon. In the Centennial Building, the art and vendor show received a number of shoppers, and on the fairgrounds stage, Sully area youth shared their talents with the gathered crowd.

Gambling enthusiasts made five stops to gather their poker cards with a full house winning the pot.

Frying pan and tire tossers added to the fun around Saturday’s Charlie Miller Memorial chili and rib cook-off campsites. For the chili and rib feed, a long line formed for the chance to taste the winning concoctions.

The fish-fry for which the rodeo is named was held prior to the rodeo Saturday evening. Although the arena had dried out considerably during the day, Saturday’s performance of the Catfish Stampede Rodeo was still a muddy affair.

As it has since Old Settler Days, Sully County found talent right at home, and the Presbyterian Choir, violinist Moriah Gross, soloist Laura Cook, and pianist Marla Mosiman performed the gospel hour. The community-unifying worship service was followed by the fellowship of a potluck meal, and with the release of exhibits and demonstration of the pulling capabilities of the antique tractors, the 97th Sully County Fair came to a close.

And even with the 2019 Sully County Fair in the books, the weather wasn’t done with us. Many in Onida awoke to a loud clap of thunder in the early hours Monday morning, and rain that fell in the northern part of the county swelled the Okobojo. As has already happened many times in 2019, the rain resulted in county roads being closed due to water over the road.