Dayton Expo draws crowds | News, Sports, Jobs

DAYTON — A bit of everything was on display at the annual Dayton Expo when it kicked off the spring season Saturday at the Dayton Community Center. Visitors could check out new farm equipment, home and outdoor decor, and even have a hot pork dinner, provided by Webster County Pork Producers and served by the Webster County Agricultural Bureau.

Exhibitors and guests mingled as they discovered displays and community events planned for the upcoming season.

Rodeo to mark the 85th anniversary

The biggest will certainly be the 85th anniversary of the Dayton Championship Rodeo on Labor Day weekend. Co-chair Matt Johnson grew up coming to the rodeo every year and is now co-chair of the event.

“I grew up in Dayton and went there every year as a kid,” He recalls. “Bull riding has always been my favorite.”

– Messenger photo by Lori Berglund

Tom Hollingshead, better known as Doc Holl, of Holl Trailers of Ogden offered information on farm trailers and all types of needs at the Dayton Expo.

Johnson now lives in Stratford and still enjoys helping families create the same rodeo memories he has cherished since childhood. One of the unique features this year will be Roman Riders.

“The Roman Riders are girls who stand on the backs of two horses and ride”, he explained. “These racers are out of Oklahoma and should be a lot of fun to see.”

For 85 years, the rodeo has only existed thanks to the help of volunteers, and it will be the same this year.

“It’s a ton of work, but we have a lot of great volunteers who have the commitment to come together and do it,” says Johnson.

For decades, area churches have worked together to supply the food stalls. As the population changed, new volunteers were sought to keep the festival going.

“The Wranglers Saddle Club and the Dayton Community Club work together to oversee the event each year. They make up our committee, he explained.

Of course, all the favorites will also be back for the 85th year. The flea market is a popular attraction, as well as Scott Amusements with family rides and the children’s corral.

Green Visits Fair

Iowa State Sen. Jesse Green, R-Boone, is part of a family farm near Dayton. He stopped by the exhibit after chatting with voters during the Eggs and Issues session earlier in the day. Green said it was important to him to get out of Des Moines and engage with the public at these types of community events.

“It’s always nice to see familiar faces when I come home” said Green. “In Des Moines, you can get lost in politics and spend a lot of time reading bill after bill. You don’t want to lose that perspective of what’s going on at home. It’s great to be able to come back to events in a small town, in my hometown.

Green stopped by the Rodeo booth and spent some time walking around the show, talking to visitors and exhibitors.

Exhibitors satisfied with the show

For Tom Hollingshead, better known simply as “Doc Holl,” the show was a good time to tell more people about his business. Based in Ogden, they supply just about every type of trailer for agricultural or commercial use.

“So far, so good” Hollingshead said. “I brought in a client from Albert City, working on a cargo trailer.”

Winter storms have created a need for more dump trailers, but there is still a need for multi-purpose trailers.

“Farmers are preparing for spring, many people are looking for different types of trailers”, he says. “I love talking to people, finding out their needs and making sure we’re making the right recommendation for what they need.”

Alysha Haupert, owner of Haupert Designs of Ridgeport, is a new exhibitor at the show with a brand new company. She said it took a bit of courage to leave a secure job at Iowa State University and venture out on her own, but after the pandemic she was ready for a change.

“I decided to take the plunge and go full time this year,” she says. “I just want to get my name out there and let people know what we have.”

Camping buckets were a popular item at the start of the outdoor season. Haupert manufactures battery-operated or electric camping buckets to provide light and keep mosquitoes away from campsites.

One of his most eye-catching creations included a collection of handmade Peanuts characters to display outdoors during the Christmas season, as well as an outdoor Grinch for those who don’t want to think about Christmas just yet.

Exhibitor Becky Koppen, Webster County RSVP, informed visitors about volunteer opportunities in the county.

RSVP is active in several areas of the community, involving seniors and making a difference. From the Lord’s Closet to area schools, volunteers can lend a hand and enjoy time spent with other volunteers, Koppen said.

The show ended in the early afternoon and will be back in 2023.

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