Fairgoers Stay Cool Amid Blistering Heat to Wrangle Record-Breaking Year

Yeehaw! That was the sentiment going around at the Clackamas County Event Center last week, as organizers, staff, volunteers and other community members overcame historic heat and other challenges to rein in a remarkably successful year for the Clackamas County Fair and Canby Rodeo.

The five-day event, which has been held in Canby since 1908, welcomed more than 100,000 visitors this year from every corner of the county and state — and from as far away as Ireland, Turkey, Germany and France.

Visitors and staff alike were challenged by record-high temperatures that depressed attendance over the fair’s first two days. Cooler temps prevailed in time for the weekend, with the Canby Rodeo selling out its final three nights for the second straight year and visitors flocking to the fairgrounds in droves.

Photo by Jordy Sanchez.
Jessie Leigh and Jim Pray perform at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds. Photo by Tyler Francke.

“I was sweating bullets Wednesday night — and it wasn’t just because of the heat,” Fair Director Brian Crow joked. “But the recovery on Thursday, Friday and Saturday was even more than we could have hoped for, and that’s all thanks to our fantastic community in Clackamas County and beyond.”

When it was all said and done, revenue and attendance for the 2023 fair came in just below last year’s record-breaking numbers, Crow added.

“The Clackamas County Fair Board applauds the hard work by Brian Crow and his team in presenting yet another exceptional Clackamas County Fair and Rodeo,” said Fair Board President Matt Bunch.

Photo by Tyler Francke.
Photo by Tyler Francke.

“We are so grateful to all our partners who helped make this year a success. From the 4-H and FFA clubs, community exhibitors, concessionaires and commercial vendors, entertainers, volunteers and staff, it takes more than 1,000 people to bring a world-class event like this to life.”

Fairgrounds staff and volunteers from Canby Fire District, Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office and other partnering organizations worked together to ensure vendors, exhibitors, attendees and animals stayed safe and healthy throughout the week, with access to plenty of water and shade.

“The 4-H and FFA exhibitors did an especially great job caring for their animals in the heat, and we’re thankful for that,” Crow said. “These programs are really at the core of what we’re all about at the Clackamas County Fair: Bringing the rural and urban parts of our community together for education and fun.”

Photo by Jordy Sanchez.
Photo by Tyler Francke.

The annual Clackamas County Junior Livestock Auction on Saturday also enjoyed a record year, with proceeds exceeding $830,000 for the more than 280 youth participants.

The Canby Rodeo, which ranks in the top 40 out of 770 PRCA rodeos, was also a smashing success, featuring national rodeo champions such as the Wright brothers, Marcos Costa, Clayton Biglow and Junior Nogueira, along with top-ranked livestock from the world-famous Calgary Stampede.

“The Canby Rodeo is a tradition like no other, and we are proud to keep it alive for our devoted fans and community,” said Canby Rodeo Committee President Clay Rhodes.

Photo by Jordy Sanchez.
Photo by Tyler Francke.

“On behalf of our committee, thank you from the bottom of our hearts to our fans, livestock contractors, entertainers, Rodeo Court, and above all, the talented cowboys and cowgirls who work so hard to make the Canby Rodeo a world-class event every year.”

The Clackamas County Fair and Rodeo is presented every year during the third week of August at the historic Clackamas County Event Center, which hosts a wide variety of events throughout the year. Tickets and other information are available online at clackamascountyfair.com.

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