Singing pair, rodeo highlight fair fun

Register Reporter

Photos by Richard Luken and Jocelyn Sheets
At top, Jay Jay, a German shepherd adopted last year by Iolan Toni Macha from a Lawrence animal shelter, took home a first-place award at the Allen County Fair’s best-dressed pet contest Tuesday. At middle left, Shanice Hayes sings during a concert with her father, Maurice. At middle right, Levi Meiwes grimaces as he pedals with all his might as part of the annual pedal pull. At bottom, Lauren Toney (second from right) was crowned 2009 Allen County Fair Rodeo queen prior to Tuesday night’s rodeo performance. Callie Umholtz (left to right), Kassandra Turner and Maggie Terhune were other candidates. All were Allen County 4-H’ers and sold advance tickets to fair events. Additional photos are on page 2 and via the photos link at

Amid the raucous cheers of the nearby rodeo arena and the din of parents and children checking out baby animals, 4-H exhibits and an assortment of food vendors came the soulful voices of Maurice and Shanice Hayes.
Maurice, a veteran performer whose career has led to him to sing with America’s major military bands and such singing stalwarts as Tony Bennett, has been accompanied for the past two years by his daughter Shanice, 15.
On Tuesday, they dazzled a small but appreciative Allen County Fair crowd with a 2-plus hour medley of gospel, soul and adult contemporary songs.
That the start of their performance was delayed because of equipment issues was all the better.
The delay allowed the exiting rodeo audience to catch the final few songs of the Hayeses’ playlist.
The pair shared the stage for a number of duets and took turns with solo performances.
Maurice bellowed out the Ray Charles standard “Georgia” while Shanice’s powerful rendition of Norah Jones’ “Don’t Know Why” exhibited her powerful vocal range.
The free concert put a fitting end on a busy day at the fairgrounds at Riverside Park.
Earlier in the day was the ever-popular best-dressed pet contest.
Among the big winners were a “bunny bee,” a small rabbit dressed up as a bee; and “Jay Jay” Toni Macha’s German shepherd, which silently posed perfectly with his plaid shirt, hat and reading glasses.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks drew large audiences to the Baby Barnyard through the afternoon with information about various animals na-tive to Kansas. Even larger audiences are expected for KDWP’s snakes and lizards display this evening.
In addition, youngsters were treated to nearby pony rides.
Booths set up in the Recreation Community Building will remain open through Thursday evening.
The rodeo wraps up its two-night run this evening at the Lyle Dreher Rough-riders Arena.
Thursday’s activities include the 4-H Barnyard Olympics in the afternoon and the 4-H and FFA Lions Club Livestock Premium Auction in the evening. A free family movie, “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa,” will be shown in Riverside Park at dusk.
The ranch rodeo highlights Friday’s events, and the fair wraps up Saturday with the Demolition Derby at Humboldt Speedway.