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Thursday, Sep 19 2013 05:00 PM

High school rodeo at Kern County Fair canceled

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    A Kern County Fair worker rides a bicycle along the main drag before Thursday's opening and the crowds settle in during the second day of the annual event.

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BY LAURA LIERA Californian staff writer lliera@bakersfield.com

Put away your riding boots and cowboy hats, Kern County.

The rodeo to be put on by the California High School Rodeo Association at the Kern County Fair has been canceled.

It was supposed to take center stage at the grandstand from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday.

But the association does not allow alcohol, which is served at the fairgrounds, at its events.

The association decided Tuesday to pull the show.

"They decided they weren't satisfied with where the alcohol was going to be served at the fair and they also didn't want alcohol in the stands," Mark Lowry, district 6 president for the rodeo, said of the association leadership.

More than 80 high school students from cities and towns from the Grapevine to Madera were ready to show off their talents at the fair. It would have been the High School Rodeo Association's first appearance at the Kern County Fair.

It was a disappointment to tell the students, Lowry said, but there was nothing he could do to prevent it.

Michael Olcott, CEO of the fair, said he was willing to work something out with the rodeo to prevent the cancelation. But he said he couldn't stop beer from being sold completely.

"There is beer sold up and down the fair so it's kind of hard to keep alcohol away from areas of the fair," Olcott said.

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