Waco Chat

Having a Drink with Charva Ingram

By Kevin Tankersley

HOT Fair & Rodeo Vice President of Marketing & Sponsorship Development

“We have some new growth on the horizon.”

We are 28 days away from the fair. It’s starting to get a little busy.

We say the fair actually starts September 25 for us. That’s when the grounds go into full-on fair mode and you’ll start seeing tents go up and rides roll in so we can get ready for October 5. This is our 65th year.

You would think it would just go on autopilot. It doesn’t. There’s a lot of different moving parts. We change things up. We have sponsors that change.

Social media has become a bigger deal, figuring out how to reach that audience and how they know what’s going on. We have a lot of wonderful sponsors that come back year after year, but we’re always trying to grow them as well. Staying in touch with them and making sure they’re getting what they need, that’s always changing and always in motion.

We stay booked nearly every weekend of the year [at the Extraco Events Center]. We specialize in horse events, and that’s probably what you see the most of. With Proposition 1 that passed back in May, we have some new growth on the horizon.

There’s going to be about $36 million put into the facility and the surrounding area. It’s a joint effort between the county, the city, the school and Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo.

We’re going to build an 80,000-square-foot expo center with about 56,000 [square] feet of usable, transformable space. We’ll be able to set up volleyball courts, basketball courts, gymnastics, dance competitions. You can even bring in mobile bowling lanes and host bowling competitions. Boat shows, car shows.

That expo center is going to open up the door for us to attract a lot of new things and do a lot more for the community here. We’re going to do a third horse arena and 600 more stalls, which just allows us to open that up even more. We can even have two horse events happening simultaneously on our grounds. Right now, we can only host one at a time.

The high school is going to get a new soccer and track field because we’re going to do some land swap stuff. The new soccer and track field is going where the current Lake Air Little League fields are. In order to take care of them, we’re going to build a new set of fields for Lake Air Little League to include a challenger field. Prop 1 is all for new building, so there’s no renovating of anything we currently have.