Fairgrounds adds lights, preps for rodeo

New lighting has been added to the outdoor arena at the Central Iowa Fairgrounds, just in time for a big weekend event.

The fairgrounds are getting set to host an Iowa High School Rodeo competition.

In previous years, temporary lighting was used for the rodeo at the outdoor arena. Now, the permanent lights will serve this event and other events at the fairgrounds into the future.

“We are very excited,” said Perry Moore, a fair board member. “We realize the potential of events that we can have now that we have the lights up.”

Moore said the poles were donated and the Musco lights were purchased with donated money. With the new lighting, he said plans are being made to host a wide range of events at the arena, including horse pulls and roping competitions.

“It could possibly be busy every weekend,” Moore said.

It will definitely be busy this weekend for the high school rodeo competition, which will begin Friday night and run through 2 p.m. Sunday.

“We’ll have 250 competitors from the state of Iowa and surrounding states,” said Eric Edler, of State Center, president of the Iowa High School Rodeo Association.

The event is a qualifier for the state competition. Events will start at 7 p.m. Friday with the barrel rolling contest. Saturday will begin with the junior high events at 9 a.m. and the grand entry for high school at 1 p.m. Grand entries for Sunday will be at 9 a.m. for both the junior high and high school.

The event is free and open to the public and expected to draw more than 500 spectators.

“It’s a really good event for the community,” Edler said.

Edler said he was also happy with the new lighting because it will allow for more high school rodeo events in the future in Marshalltown.