Verde Valley Fair Association
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In 1968, the Blue Exhibit Barn (now known as the Gyberg Barn) was built. In order for the bank to loan the money to build the barn, a clear deed to the land was needed. Ersel Garrison, who had purchased the surrounding land from the now defunct Verde Land and Development Co. gave the Fair Association a clear deed to the land, but reserved the slag dump. Eight Fair Association members including Mickey Ryan, Ross Rhoton, Chuck Mabery, Clyde Hance, Carlton Camp, and others, signed personal loans for a total of $7,000 before the Fair to finance the building. Ernie Broughton supervised the building project. The barn was named for Frank Gyberg. After his death, Mrs. Gyberg set up a $1,500 trust for the Verde Valley Fair.
Also in 1968, the Fair Board agreed to sell an acre of land to the VFW for $1 to build a meeting hall on the Fairgrounds that the Fair Association was permitted to use during the Fair. The old American Legion Clubhouse from Clarkdale was moved onto the Fairgrounds from Clarkdale. In 1983, the VFW built a new building on the site.
The old “Tillie’s Salon” building from downtown Cottonwood was moved on the Fairgrounds in 1968, thereafter known simply as the “stucco building”. That building has since been removed.
For years, the livestock auctioneers were strictly volunteer. Doc Pardee, Sheldon Antone, Johnny Whisenant, and Mark Nelson all contributed their time and talents to the Fair auction. Pat Patterson, George Kirkwood, and Tavasci Bros. all hauled animals to Phoenix for processing with no charge to the Fair Association.
Volunteer ring men who have served for many years included Everett Brown, Carlton Camp, Pat Patterson, and John Reddell. CTI, Phoenix Cement (now known as Salt River Materials Group), Marcus J. Lawrence Hospital (now known as Verde Valley Medical Center), and local Doctors have been major livestock buyers over the years.
"For the 1967 Verde Valley Fair, the first livestock barn was built. However, that winter the heavy snow caved the building in. The County came in and helped rebuild the barn."
"In 1966, the Verde Valley Fair Association was reorganized and the Verde Valley Fair was moved to the Fairgrounds. Two big tents were rented out of Phoenix and put up for shelter. Portable panels for stock pens were borrowed from the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix for that Fair and for many years afterwards. During the Fair, a storm came up and the tents were blown down."
In 1965, the first Verde Valley Fair was held in downtown Cottonwood. Carlton Camp, who was FFA Advisor at the High School, now Mingus Union, Don Goddard, Chuck Mabery, Everett Brown, Pat Patterson, Mickey Ryan, and Ross Rhoton were instrumental in bringing 4-H members into the FFA Calf Sale so they could avoid the long trip to Prescott and competing for buyers with the local Prescott 4-Hers. The calves were shown in the baseball field behind the Civic Center. Doc Pardee was the auctioneer. The American Legion Hall was used for 4-H exhibits, and the Civic Center was used for other exhibits. A barbeque was held, with George Thomas making biscuits in Dutch ovens."
And the story continues....