Let the circle be unbroken.
Or maybe that should read, let the country music cycle be unbroken.
This year, the Rock County 4-H Fair is once again offering a lineup of country music for its main stage entertainment. Not that all country music is the same. There’s country rock, classic country, cowboy country, Christian country, crossover country—well, you get my drift.
That music lineup will be broken by some exceptions, including the presentation of the fair royalty, a local talent contest and bull riding and barrel racing.
The following is a concise guide to what visitors can see in the grandstand:
7 p.m. Tuesday: Rock County 4-H Fair Royalty presentation. Meet the 4-H and FFA kids who have worked hard throughout their club careers and have served in leadership positions. Being on the fair court isn’t a popularity contest. It involves application and interviews and the ability to demonstrate grace under pressure.
8 p.m. Wednesday: Jo Dee Messina with Joe Diffie opening.
Messina in a nutshell: A blend of country-pop and country contemporary. She’s best known for her second album, “I’m Alright” that produced five top 10 hits, including “I’m Alright,” “Bye Bye,” “Stand by Me”, “A Lesson in Leavin’” and “Because You Love Me.”
Diffie in a nutshell: Progressive country with a thick vein of honky-tonk. He’s best known for his album “Third Rock from the Sun” which included a variety of hits including the title track, “Pickup Man,” “The Road Not Taken,” “So Help Me Girl,” and “I’m in Love with a Capital ‘U’.” Ironically, his last No. 1 hit was “Bigger than the Beatles.”
8 p.m. Thursday: Rock County 4-H Fair talent show. In the past, the local talent contest leaned heavily toward—you guessed it—country music. However, last year’s show involved a dog act, so you never know.
The contest features 23 competitors in one of three divisions: youth ages 2 to 12, teens ages 13 to 18 and adults ages 19 and older. Adults will be competing for a $1,000 prize. Youth and teens will be competing for a $500 first-place prize, a $250 second-place prize and a chance to compete at the Wisconsin State Fair.
8 p.m. Friday: Craig Campbell. Campbell in a nutshell: Pure country.
He’s best known for the steady and consistent hits the singer has been cranking out in the last six years including, “Family Man,” “Fish”, “When I Get It,” “Outta My Head,” “Keep those Kisses Comin’” and “Outskirts of Heaven.”
8 p.m. Saturday: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
The band in a nutshell: There is no nutshell for this band that has been performing for 50 years. It’s bluegrass and country, it’s honky-tonk and pop, it’s folk all mixed in with a little bit of old-time religion.
They’ve played with greats including Mother Maybelle Carter, Johnny Cash, Alison Krause, Jackson Browne and John Prine.
They’re best known for two big albums, “Let the Circle Be Unbroken,” and “Let the Circle Be Unbroken, Volume 2.”
4 p.m. Sunday: Rice Bull Riding Company. It’s bull riding and barrel racing.