For some the Quay County Fair is the chance to show a lamb, pig or steer. For others it might be the chance to display their skill in painting or photography and for still others, it might be the chance to show off their prowess at roping or barrel racing.
Probably to a very large number of people, however, especially young people in Quay County, the lure of the fair is the rides and games that the carnival provides just northeast of the county fair building each afternoon and evening during the fair. “It’s wonderful that this opportunity exists,” said fair goer Debbie Breen while standing among the rides and games Thursday evening. “There are a number of children in our community that don’t get to go to places like Wonderland Park in Amarillo and this gives them a chance to enjoy things like that, on a smaller scale of course.”
Ride operator Drake Happen who operates the Rocker Plane ride said he agrees whole heartedly with Breen regarding the responsibility of the carnival at small county fairs like Quay County’s. “I’ve got a great job,” said Happen about letting local youths enjoy the ride he runs at the carnival. “I’m here to let kids have a good time. I am here to entertain them.” Fellow concessionaire Billy White who runs the carnival’s dart throwing game said he sees his and the other people who work with the carnival’s responsibility as providing escape.
“This is a place where people don’t bring the bad aspects of their lives. It’s a nice environment where people who want to have a good time can come. Out there, “ said White gesturing toward Tucumcari, “people have problems and frustrations, but here, at least temporarily, they have a cushion from them. For the most part I see happy people. Generally, people don’t bring their problems in here. They’re here to have fun.”
Parent Jamie Huntley said that is indeed what brought her to the fair with three children in tow. She said it gave her small children a chance to have a good time in pleasant and entertaining surroundings. “They just love it here and really enjoy the rides,” said Huntley. Huntley said each of the three children had his or her own special favorite ride that they enjoyed taking part in. One child likes the Silver Streak, another likes the Sea Dragon and a third likes the giant slide.
Head concessionaire J.R. Merser said he and his people are enjoying their sojourn in Tucumcari and have visited different aspects of the community. However, one ride operator said that he was hit with a seat belt violation after pulling out from a local restaurant where he had dined.
“But it’s the law I guess,” said the operator.