The Northern Gila County Fair opened Thursday evening as the sun slid over the horizon with a local talent show including dance, fiddle and piano.

David and Angeline Schelesky won first place with Twenty Fingers; Willy & the Poor Boys (Wilson family) got second playing and singing Down on the Corner; and Daniel Schelesky won third place with Haydn’s Concerto in C, third movement.

Vendors included the Payson Senior Center with home-baked banana bread, cookies and hand-crafted wooden gift boxes.

A Native Air helicopter landed at the event center Friday morning and the crew opened it up for kids to sit inside and have their pictures taken.

There was face painting, livestock competitions and exhibitions, archery demonstrations and the Oxbow Outfit Ropin’ and Pan for Gold.

The livestock show included goats, sheep, steers and swine. Mountain cowboy shooters held a clinic to practice their skills.

Red Ronnebaum and other collectors displayed their vintage tractors. Ronnebaum was putting the finishing touches on his 1941 McCormick Deering Farmall International.

Ronnebaum found the tractor in San Tan two years ago, refurbished it with new tires and red paint.

Local teachers brought their classes to the fair on school buses. The face painting was a hit and kids lined up for their turn at one of several booths, each offering a different design.

Inside the livestock tent, exhibitors showed the livestock they raised.

Sariah Stonebrink showed Gracie, a mini Oberhasli Nigerian goat, brown with blue eyes. Judges awarded them the Grand Champion in their category.

A large tent behind the arena housed the horticulture exhibits. These included vegetables, plants, cut flowers, bonsai trees, art sculptures (including chairs) incorporating plants.

The Tonto Apache Tribal Gym displayed photography, painting, ceramics and sculpture, quilting and jewelry exhibits.

Exhibits were open on Saturday all day. Other festivities included a small stock show, team roping and a cornhole tournament.

The livestock auction took place in the afternoon.

See a gallery more photos from the fair at

Digital Media Mgr/Staff Reporter/Photographer

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