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A bucking, trucking good time





ELLIS -- There's the usual fair exhibits and livestock, but many came to the Ellis Junior Free Fair Friday night to catch up with friends and neighbors.

"I just grew up around it," said John Fischer, Ellis, who's been coming to the fair for at least 60 years. "I see a lot of friends and neighbors I haven't seen for awhile."

He started coming as a child and now shares the fun with his grandchildren.

With fire engines, race cars, tractors big and small, police and sheriff's cars, and even the city street cleaner, the "Kids Touch a Truck" was a popular destination for youngsters.

This is the first year for the red fire trucks at the exhibit, but they were a big hit.

Wearing kid-sized firefighter hats, kids could take a turn sitting in the driver's seat blowing the air horn and turning on the siren. Some even tried on firefighter's garb.

"It allows the kids to crawl up in (the fire trucks) and get to know firemen, so they're not so afraid of us," said Dave Honas, assistant Ellis fire chief.

Honas has been a member of the Ellis Volunteer Fire Department for 20 years and the Ellis County Rural Fire Department for eight years.

The county fire department's new tanker truck also was on display.

Sidney Bryan, 2, Des Moines, Iowa, and her cousin Khloe Haas, Antonino, also 2, took turns sitting in the driver's seat.

The fair was a family affair for the Haas' as Khloe's brothers, Kaden and Konner, were showing their calves in the livestock ring.

The mechanical bull also drew a crowd of spectators and riders.

The bull is owned and operated by Jesse McDaniel of Scott City. Besides fairs, it's a popular addition to after-prom parties and weddings, said Diana McDaniel, Jesse's mom.

Jesse controls the bull's speed and direction, giving young children a slower ride, she said.

"Kids have a lot of fun on them," Diana McDaniel said.

Older riders usually get three bucks off the bull, and Riley Hunsicker fit that category.

It was Hunsicker's second time riding the bull. His first was a couple of weeks ago at the McCracken Rodeo.

"It was fun," he said. "My dad rode bulls (in rodeos), but I don't think I will."