'Horsing around': Day 2 of Hawkins Co. Fair features horse shows, music, and more

Jeff Bobo • Sep 7, 2018 at 6:30 PM

CHURCH HILL — Friday was a day of firsts and seconds for the Hawkins County Fair, as well as for Surgoinsville horse trainer Mike Hepler and his 12-year-old subject, Cyclone.

The second annual fair kicked off its first day Friday at the Camp Hope Fairgrounds near Church Hill, with most of the day being dedicated to schoolchildren visiting on a field trip.

Among the attractions was a demonstration by Hepler, who brought one of his “problem children” to be trained.

That problem child was Cyclone, who has been ridden only once in his life ... and he didn’t like it.

Horsing around at the county fair

Much to the delight of a big crowd of screaming schoolchildren, however, Hepler was able to saddle and ride Cyclone for the second time in the horse’s life, albeit with a few unexpected hitches.

Hepler said he has trained mores than 700 horses in his 21-year career, and for the first time Friday one tried to buck him.

He told the Times News that because the youngsters in the audience had to go to lunch, he tried to rush Cyclone and ride him before he was ready. Cyclone let him know about it and bucked a little bit.

Although it got a exciting for a few seconds, Hepler stayed in the saddle and Cyclone eventually settled down.

Ironically, Cyclone is owned by Hepler and they’re used to working with each other.

Hepler said he’s got “a good crazy one” to train for his two shows Saturday at noon and 4 p.m., which ought to be a crowd pleaser.

Saturday’s Hawkins County Fair schedule

The Hawkins County Fair resumes Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Camp Hope Fairgrounds at 1069 Old Union Road in the New Canton community.

This year’s fair has a lot of horse activity, including the featured headliner, famed “horse whisperer” Dr. Lew Sterrett, who has shows Saturday at 9:30 a.m., around 2 p.m. during the intermission of the main horse show, and again at 5 p.m.

Registration for the main horse show is 9:30 a.m., and the main show begins at 10:30 and continues throughout the day.

The 4-H Chicken Judging and Auction are 10 a.m. to noon.

The Volunteer High School marching band will perform and parade around the fairgrounds at 2 p.m.

Live music at the Amphitheater includes Larry Perkins and Son at 2 p.m. and the Knight Family at 3 p.m.

The fair closes at 7 p.m. but the public is invited to stay for the Answer for America Revival, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Amphitheater and is sponsored by Hope Community Church.

Sunday highlighted by “Sermon on the Mount”

The fairgrounds open Sunday at 9 a.m. with the Answer for America Revival beginning around 10 a.m. Regular fair activities will begin when the revival is over around 11:30 a.m.

Sterrett’s main show, “Sermon on the Mount,” begins at 12:30 p.m. and lasts about two hours.

There are at least 76 booths registered for Saturday and Sunday including a variety of food vendors, demonstrators and information booths, crafts, and displays.

Fair visitors are encouraged to bring a lawn chair, stake out a “home base” in the shade and then walk around at their leisure. A map of the fairgrounds, as well as a list of vendors and show times, can be seen in the online version of this article at www.timesnews.net.

The Hawkins County Fair closes at 3 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit the fair's Facebook page.