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Macoupin County Fair sees record attendance

Braylee Gilmore, Chloe Vinyard and Emrie Little, all of Carlinville, were crowned as the 2023 Macoupin County Royalty. Back row from left: Miss Illinois County Fair Queen Paige Van Dyke, Junior Miss Macoupin County 2023 Chloe Vinyard, Miss Macoupin County 2022 MacKenzie Moyer and Junior Miss Macoupin County 2022 Kennedi Isaacs. Front row from left: Little Miss Macoupin County 2023 Emrie Little, Miss Macoupin County 2023 Braylee Gilmore and Little Miss Macoupin County 2022 Sadie Roberts. Enquirer~Democrat photo by Erin Sanson.

Gilmore crowned Queen; Josh Turner performs

Enquirer~Democrat Reporter

The Macoupin County Fair board, royalty, families and friends gathered to cut the opening ribbon on Monday, June 5 and began holding fair events the next day.


Beginning at 5:30 p.m. Harness Racing took place on the track. There were 13 races this year.
The 11th race ended in a dead heat between the number 2 and 5 horse, ROCKIN FAYE and ROCKIN KAPHONE, respectively. Officials could not determine, even using photographs, which horse crossed the line first.
The 12th race was recalled to the start. The number 4 horse, IAMAMANATHEART came in first.


The Carnival opened at 4:00 p.m., Conner Family Amusements from Beardstown provided the rides and games again for this year’s fair.

The Queen Pageant to determine the 2023 Miss, Junior Miss and Little Miss Macoupin County was the big event held at the grandstand on Wednesday night. There were 37 contestants from across the county entered into this year’s pageant. The Junior Miss and Little Miss categories had 14 contestants each and nine contestants entered into the Miss pageant.

All three of this year’s winners are from Carlinville.

Braylee Gilmore, daughter of Michael and Robin Gilmore won the title of Miss Macoupin County 2023. The title of Junior Miss went to Chloe Vinyard, daughter of BJ and Ashley Vinyard. Emrie Little, daughter of Brandon and Taylor Little was crowned as Little Miss.

A nighttime view of the carnival rides during the Macoupin County Fair, held June 6-11. Enquirer~Democrat photo by Erin Sanson.


The line to enter the Macoupin County Fairgrounds was backed up to the Carlinville Square at some points on June 8, as people packed in to enjoy the fair and the Josh Turner concert.

The show was actually delayed half an hour by the fair board so everyone could make it to the grandstand’s big event on time.

Drew Baldridge, a native of Southern Illinois and Nashville star, opened the concert for Turner – a famed multi-platinum-selling country artist that had become known as one of the world’s most recognizable voices, selling more than 8.5 million units while amassing more than 2.5 billion streams globally.

Baldridge warmed up the crowd, ending with his viral hit “She’s Somebody’s Daughter,” which had amassed more than 260 million Tiktok impressions at 65 million streams per year.

Carlinville was one of the many stops for Turner on his 20th anniversary “Long Black Train” tour. He performed many original favorites that included “Firecracker,” “Your Man,” “Hometown Girl” and more.

A tent was stationed near the entrance for all desiring to purchase merchandise. Turner additionally invited everyone to participate in a contest. With just a simple “GUITAR” text, fans became eligible to win a “Long Black Train” guitar that had been signed by Turner himself.


Worldwide country star and multi-platinum artist Josh Turner was this year’s headlined performer at the annual Macoupin County Fair grandstand concert on Thursday, June 8. Enquirer~Democrat photo by Jackson Wilson.


On June 9, it was time for the Truck and Tractor Pulls on the newly renamed Area Diesel Pulling Track.

There were six classes from the Illinois Tractor Pulling Association (ITPA), four classes from the Mid-Illinois Truck Tractor Pullers (MITTP) and two classes from the Illinois Hot Farm Stock Puller Associtation (IHFSPA).

Results are as follows:
ITPA Results
5500 Antique: Ryan Waltrip, Nashville, IL on vehicle “Little G” pulled 389.11 feet
Jim Matzenbacher, Fults, IL on “JD G” pulled 365.01 for second place.
Lynn Johnson, Elkhart, on “Diver 90” pulled 357.05 for third.
6850 ProFarm: Tedd Romine, Atwood, on “Little Miss Fire #1,” 296.09 feet.
Gabe Pants, Waverly, on “Pointless,” 291.09 feet.
Team Deplorable Floyd Miller, Arcola, on “Deplorable,” 287.07 feet.
8500 Limited ProStock: Kaith Markwardt, Nashville, IL, on “Keeps Takin Money,” pulled for a distance of 335.02 feet.
Adam Owen, Springerton, on an International Harvester 7240 pulled for 328.08 feet.
Bob Pulling Team Henry Debuisseret, Vincennes, IN, on “Hell Raiser,” pulled for 328.03 feet.
Light Super Stock: Jacob Kesler, North Davey, on “Night Shift,” pulled for 362.09 feet.
Bernie Platz, Sigel, on “Little Bad Allis,” pulled for 320.10 feet.
Supertiquer Pulling Team Clark Ottmanns, Lincoln, on International Harvester 5088 “Supertiquer,” pulled for 309.00 feet.
Light Modified: Money Pit Pulling Tea Lane Bollinger, Taylorville, on “Top Gun,” pulled for 341.10 feet.
Glenn McMunn, Villa Ridge, on “Hillybilly Justice,” pulled for 334,02 feet.
John Young, Bismarck, on “Old Windy,” pulled for 327.03 feet.
9500 Limited ProStock: David Guetersloh, Murphysboro, on “Guetersloth Farm, “ pulled 324.10 feet.
Darin Ratermann, Bartelso, on “Full Boar,” pulled 323.06 feet.
Brad Hartman, Haubstadt, IN, on “International Addiction, “ pulled 322.05 feet.

MITTP Results
Hot Street: Drew Tepen, Grafton, in a 1985 Chevy pulled 300.01 feet.
Kenny Nelson, Jerseyville, in a 1975 Chevy, pulled 288.08 feet.
Ben Schroeder, Godfrey, in a 2004 Chevy, pulled 280.03 feet.
12500 County Tractor: Reuben Spicer, Covngton, IN, on John Deere 5020, “The Last Ride,” pulled 335.22 feet.
JP Roberts, Carlinville, on a John Deere 4520, pulled 315.51 feet.
Ben Wiegmann, Nashville, Il, on a John Deere 6030, pulled 307.23 feet.
Work Stock Diesel: Bayley Wise, Versailles, in a 1998 Dodge, pulled 348.10 feet.
Joe Dawson, Auburn, in a 2006 Dodge, pulled 344.07 feet.
Aaron Cully, Franklin, in a 2005 Chevy, pulled 331.07.
Super Stock 4×4: Adam Meisenheimer, Litchfield, in a 1970 Cehvy, pulled 347.10 feet.
Brandon Langen, Blue Mound, in a 1982 Chevy, pulled 342.10 feet.
Jeff Cray, Girard, in a 1972 chevy, pulled 324.07 feet.

IHFSPA results
8000 HF: Gail Hermann, Shumway, on Internatinal Harvester 1066 “Ethel,” pulled 307.78 feet.
Dwayne Bauersachs, Pinckneyvilley, on a Case 1070, pulled 304.74.
Phil Anderson, Johnston City, on an international Harester 1066, pulled 294.96 feet.
12,500 12 MPH: Jason Fuhler, Breese, on a John Deere 4440, pulled 379.86 feet.
Nick Stoffel, Okawville, on a Case 1175, pulled 346.99 feet.
Josh Diekemper, Carlyle, on an International Harvester 966, pulled 339.61 feet.

There were 12 classes for trucks and tractors to compete in on Friday, June 9 at the Macoupin County Fair Truck and Tractor Pulls. The Pulls were held on the newly renamed Area Diesel Pulling Track. The farthest pull of the night, 389.11 feet, was by Ryan Waltrip and his “Little G” tractor in the 5500 Antique class. Enquirer~Democrat photo by Erin Sanson.


The demolition derby was held June 10, the last night of the carnival and events.

A power wheels derby for kids ages 3-9 was held at 7 p.m. in front of the grandstand. There were enough kids participating this year for three heats. Kids climbed into their battery powered cars, put on their helmets and ran their cars into each other until time ran out.

A power wheel demo derby for kids was held just before the Demolition Derby on Saturday, June 10. Kids ages 3-9 were encouraged to sign up and wreck some cars. Enquirer~Democrat photo by Erin Sanson.

It was then time for the big event.

There were five heats for the drivers to participate in, bone stock compact, bone stock full size, modified compact, modified full size and minivan/truck/SUV.

There were several entries in each class. The modified full size class had the most entries with 22 cars running at one time.

The fire signal went off quickly into the modified full size round, as flames were spotted coming from the number 32 car. The driver quickly exited the car while the Carlinville Fire Department worked to extinguish the flames.

The signal went off again shortly afterwards and an ambulance was called to the track due to a driver injury. Evan Bethard of Carlinville was cut out of his car and transported by ambulance to the hospital. He reportedly gave officials a “thumbs up” as he was taken off the track.

The derby was able to continue, with a few more interruptions, though no further driver injuries before the last car was left standing.
Fair Board President Kim Carney-Rhodes expressed her thanks to all of the volunteers, sponsors and attendees who helped put on the Fair.

Saturday, June 10 saw a sold-out grandstand and full parking lots for the Demolition Derby. A derby official raises his flags as one of the competitors caused an opposing car to climb the barrier during one of the heats. Enquirer~Democrat photo by Erin Sanson.

Attendance of the 2023 Macoupin County Fair was so high that the parking lots were completely full on multiple nights, leaving cars to be parked in the in field. It was also announced on Saturday night that tickets were sold-out to the Demolition Derby had sold out and that the grandstand was completely full, a first in Macoupin County Fair History.

Rhodes said that the Macoupin County Fair saw record breaking attendance this year on multiple nights and for the week overall. She also stated that she was aware that the lines to get into the Fair were long and that the board would be looking into the issue. She added that this was the first year the Fair had online tickets, for the entire fairgrounds which brought with it a learning curve and growing pains, but that the problems the fair saw this year were “good problems to have.”