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2016 Madison County Fair

Tuesday, July 12- Sunday, July 17
The Madison County Fair Board of Directors is excited
and proud to announce the entertainment for the Madison County Fair. 
Saturday, July 16th will feature Kip Moore
Sunday, July 17th, will feature Hank Williams Jr.
We are excited about these acts and look forward to another great year. 
Tickets go on sale April 30, 2016,  and fair dates are July 12-17, 2016.

Saturday, July 16


Kip Moore

Over the last couple of years, Kip Moore spent most of his time on the road, building one of country music's most loyal audiences show by show and plotting what would become his sophomore album, Wild Ones. He was a road warrior, living out of a tour bus with his bandmates and playing more than 200 shows per year. For a songwriter who'd grown up in a quiet pocket of southern Georgia, performing to crowds across the world — crowds that knew every word to his best-selling debut album, Up All Night — felt like a dream come true. 

Somewhere along the way, though, the highway became a lonely place. The routine was always the same: pull into town, play a show, pack up and leave. There was no stability, no comfort. Things weren't much easier at home in Nashville, where Moore —whose first album had sent three songs to the top of the country charts, including "Beer Money" and "Hey Pretty Girl" —found himself receiving plenty of unsolicited advice from people who wanted to keep the hits coming…at any cost.

"Once you start having a little bit of success," he says, "all of a sudden, there's a lot of opinions about who you should be, what you should be doing, how it should be marketed. A lot of those opinions are great, but Wild Ones was influenced by me saying, 'This is just who I am. I'm not gonna do what other people are doing. I'm not chasing a trend. I'm gonna do the kind of music I wanna do, and the kind of music I think my fans wanna hear, and that's the end of the story.'"

From amphitheater tours with Dierks Bentley to his own headlining tours across America, Moore has spent the last three years learning what, exactly, his fans want to hear. He's a genuine road warrior, armed with a live show that mixes the bombast and wild desperation of Bruce Springsteen with the rootsy stomp of Merle Haggard. It's a sound built on space and swagger. A sound that bangs as hard as it twangs. A sound caught somewhere between blue-collar country music and stadium-sized rock & roll. And that's the sound that Moore's fans, who've already catapulted him to PLATINUM-selling heights, want to hear.

When it came time to create new music for his second album, Wild Ones, Moore didn't have to look very far for inspiration. He just took a look around, taking stock of the world as it flew by his bus window at highway speed.

"Everything that's taken place over the last two years —this traveling circus, these shows, the band, the toll that the road can take on you but also the exuberance it can bring —it all inspired the record," he explains. "It's a record about what we've gone through, and I wanted the music to match the intensity of what we do every night onstage. We never go through the motions, no matter how tired and exhausted we are."

Moore wrote or co-wrote all of Wild Ones' thirteen tracks, often teaming up with songwriters like Dan Couch or Weston Davis. More than a few songs were born on the road, where Moore found himself coming up with new ones during soundchecks, inside backstage dressing rooms, and in his bunk at night. He'd arrange the songs, too, coming up with bass parts, guitar licks and drum patterns in addition to the melodies. Sometimes, he'd write some lyrics, scrap them, then write a completely different set. The emphasis wasn't on creating the largest catalog of songs in the shortest time possible; it was on funneling the feeling of a Kip Moore concert into a single album, no matter how much time it took.

Driven forward by electric guitars and gang vocals, "Lipstick" is the album's most heartfelt tribute to the road, with each verse rattling off a list of the favorite cities Moore and his bandmates have played in the past. Other songs, like "That Was Us," take a look backward, sketching a picture of the archetypal small-town Saturday nights that filled Moore's teenage years in Georgia. "Magic," anchored by one of the anthemic, open-armed choruses of Moore's career, is loud and lovely, and "Comeback Kid" packs its punch the opposite way: by dialing back the volume and delivering quiet praise to the underdog in all of us.

Befitting an album that was largely inspired by —and written on — the road, Moore recorded Wild Ones during quick breaks in his touring schedule. He'd book one or two days of studio time, then hit the road for three months, then return to Nashville and book more sessions. Gradually, the album started to take shape. Brett James, his longtime friend and ally, co-produced the project.

"We created a lot of space in this record," Moore says proudly. "It's not a bunch of people playing all over the place. We tracked a lot of the record with just a three-piece band. If you go to most Nashville recording sessions, there's gonna be six or seven people in the room. But we recorded this one with less people, just to allow the fans to actually listen to what's going on. It makes everything sound bigger." "Big." Perhaps that's the best description for Wild Ones, a super-sized record inspired by the grit, grind, and glamour of the live shows that have helped make Moore a country favorite. For Moore, going big was the only option. 

"I've always felt like the guy whose cards are stacked against him," he says. "I've always been the underdog, but I also say, 'You can count me out for a minute, but don't think I'll stay down for very long.'”


Sunday, July 17


Hank Williams Jr.

“Stop and think it over,” the big man with the hat and glasses has asked, from a thousand stages, in front of millions of people. “Try to put yourself in my position.”

We can’t. We can imagine, but we can’t know. We can’t know what it’s like to be the only son of Hank Williams, the long gone and lonesome singer whose brief life transformed country music. We can’t know what it’s like to be linked to such a transformative force by blood and name but not by memory, to learn about a famous father from books and photos and others’ stories: Hank Williams died at age 29, when his son was three-years-old.

We can’t know what it was like to wrestle with that legacy, to try to honor all that came before, but not wind up a pale approximation of country’s greatest ghost. Born Randall Hank Williams, but singing as Hank Williams, Jr. before he was 10, the son never had much in the way of a career choice. The choice wasn’t whether he’d sing, but what, how and why. “Other kids could play cowboys and Indians and imagine that they’d grow up to be cowboys,” he wrote in his Living Proof autobiography. “I couldn’t do that. I knew that I would never grow up to be a cowboy or a fireman or the president of the United States. I knew I’d grow up to be a singer. That’s all there ever was, the only option, from the beginning.”

At the beginning, mother Audrey Williams worked to mold her son into a miniature version of his late father, and for 20 years he struggled, uncomfortably, to break the mold. When he finally found his own sound and style, he reached sales plateaus that his father never dreamed of: 20 gold albums, six platinum albums (one of which has sold more than five million copies) and 13 chart-topping albums. He has been selling out massive venues for a longer period of time than his father spent on earth. He has done more than honor his father’s legacy; he has extended it, enriched it, enhanced it and elevated it. “My name’s a reminder of a blues man that’s already gone,” he once sang. But the name “Hank Williams, Jr.” is much more than that.

Randall Hank Williams was born in Shreveport, Louisiana on May 26, 1949. A month later, his father made his Grand Ole Opry debut, singing “Lovesick Blues” and drawing six encores. Hank Williams, who nicknamed his son “Bocephus” after comedian Rod Brasfield’s ventriloquist dummy, had three and a half years left to live. He spent much of that time performing for the fans who would celebrate his contributions, but during radio performances he would send a message to his boy, closing shows by saying, “Don’t worry, Bocephus, I’m coming home.”

But when Williams came home in January of 1953, it was in a casket. Audrey Williams was left with a family to raise, and with a son who was soon squealing for a guitar of his own. At age eight, Hank made his music debut, dressed in a black suit for a Swainsboro, Georgia show, singing his father’s songs to wild applause. At nine, he was touring in earnest with his mother’s
Caravan of Stars.

“We listened to Hank, Jr. sing some of the songs which made his dad so famous,” wrote an early reviewer, in 1957. “The similarity of style is haunting. He has the same lonesome quality, the same break in his voice, the same pronunciation.”

Raised in Nashville, Hank, Jr. learned music from the finest of teachers. Earl Scruggs gave him banjo lessons, and Jerry Lee Lewis showed him piano licks. And with rock ‘n’ roll in full flower, Hank, Jr. began playing a lot of electric guitar (though not onstage, where he was taught to do Hank Williams’ songs, in Hank Williams’ style). At age 11, he made his own Opry debut, walking across the same wooden boards his father had walked on, and, just like his daddy, singing “Lovesick Blues” and encoring.

“Went on the road when I was eight years old, when I turned 15 I was stealing the show,” he wrote, accurately, in his 1987 No. 1 single, “Born To Boogie.” And after stealing the show, he was often offered the drinks and pills that were so prevalent among country performers (and that had killed his father). Often as not, as was family tradition, he accepted the offers. He’d also accepted a $300,000-per-year recording contract, and at 15 his version of his father’s “Long Gone Lonesome Blues” climbed to #5 on the country singles chart. Also while 15, he wrote his first serious composition, a slice of autobiography: “I know that I’m not great/ Some folks say I just imitate/ Anymore, I don’t know/ I’m just doin’ the best I can.....It’s hard standing in the shadow of a very famous man.”

That shadow grew darker, as Hank, Jr. entered his 20s. The fans that came to see him on the road wanted, and expected, him to do his father’s songs, his father’s way. Yet he yearned to explore the musical changes that were happening in the early 1970s, the melding of country, blues and rock that made the music of Waylon Jennings and the Marshall Tucker Band so distinct. He also grew increasingly dependent on pills and booze, and increasingly upset about his life’s path. “I just felt all this loneliness and depression,” he told interviewer Peter Guralnick. “I was all tore up about the direction I was heading. Every time I’d play one of Daddy’s records, I’d just start to cry.”

An attempted suicide in 1974 was the low point. Had he died then, at 23, his music career would have been a historical footnote, an addendum to his father’s biography and little more. He moved from Nashville to Cullman, Alabama, rethought his life in and out of music, and recorded his first truly original work, an album called Hank Williams Jr. and Friends that featured Jennings, the Tucker Band’s Toy Caldwell, and others who weren’t in the traditional country camp. And Williams’ songs “Living Proof” and “Stoned at the Jukebox” were his most searing, emotional works to date. But while prepping for a tour, he went mountain climbing in Montana.
bio“I just had to show ‘em I didn’t need ‘em/ And so I headed out west to see some old friends of mine,” he would later sing, in “All In Alabama.” “I thought if I’d climb up old Ajax Mountain, maybe that would help me get it all off my mind.” It was a nice climb, right up until the part where he fell down the mountain.

He lived, barely, but emerged disfigured, wounded and, somehow, inspired. After multiple surgeries and a torturous recovery period, he was determined that he would spend no more time as a Hank Williams retread.

His new music was a turnoff to some longtime fans, but it was embraced by a new crowd that liked this newly bearded Bocephus, who, as he sang in “The New South,” “started turning up loud and looking at the crowd and bending them guitar strings.” Hank, Jr.’s music was now rambunctious, forthright and distinctive.

For Hank, Jr., everything changed with that 1975 dive off Ajax Mountain. The music world caught on to those changes around 1979, the year he released his first million-selling album, Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound, along with his autobiography, Living Proof. In the early 1980s, he catapulted to full-on superstar status, with major hits including “Texas Women,” “Dixie On My Mind,” “All My Rowdy Friends (Have Settled Down),” and in 1984, “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight,” a party anthem featuring a riotous video that starred Bocephus in conjunction with stars from inside (Merle Kilgore, Porter Wagoner, Kris Kristofferson, etc.) and outside (Cheech and Chong) country music.

In 1987, Hank, Jr. won his first of five country music entertainer of the year awards, and the two albums released that year - Hank Live and studio effort Born To Boogie - were platinum sellers. Born To Boogie was the CMA’s album of the year in 1988, the year he won the CMA and ACM’s top entertainer prize. Hank’s star rose far beyond the country world in 1989, when manager Merle Kilgore arranged a deal with ABC’s Monday Night Football to have Hank, Jr. rework “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight” into a theme song to be played before each Monday’s game. Two years later, the Monday Night theme won the first of four straight Emmy Awards, and Hank, Jr. would be the singing voice of Monday Night Football for 22 years.

With the Monday Night Football deal in place, Hank Williams, Jr. was now known to millions who had never even listened to country music, and he’d become an ambassador for that musical genre. He’s held that position through the 1990s and up to the present, with hard-charging songs that speak to his truth, his “unique position,” and to our lives. His room-shaking voice is as identifiable to fans as that of his father, and he has passed the family music tradition
down to son Shelton and daughter Holly, both of whom are recording artists in their own right.

“I’ve been a very lucky man,” he’s fond of saying, but Hank, Jr. has made his own luck, and made his own way. Given a chance to coast on his father’s songs and his father’s royalties, he found a new song to sing, and a new way to sing it.

The father lived 29 years, and the son spent nearly that long standing in his shadow. But it is what the son did after turning 29 that has landed him a place in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, that has made him a BMI Icon award winner, and one of the best-selling artists in country music history. By finding his own powerful voice, by turns rebellious and vulnerable, he has become a music icon. He remains an inspiration to Alan Jackson, Kid Rock, Jamey Johnson and other followers and a sure-bet for eventual entry into the Country Music Hall of Fame, where his plaque will be displayed in perpetuity, just like his daddy’s, only different. Stop and think it over.


Tickets on sale April 30th at 8:00 am.
Ticket outlets on day of sale are: Sew It Seams in NG; Goody’s in BC, Subs and Suds in Tilden, Sportsman’s in MG,
Renegade in Norfolk. Tickets at the outlets are general admission or concert only tickets and will be sold at those locations from
8 a.m. until noon or until sold out whichever comes first. All reserved tickets need to be purchased at the fair office in Madison.
Credit cards welcome, can call 402-454-2144 or stop by between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Madison County Fair Office (402) 454-2144.
Credit Cards Accepted

(General Admission - No Reserved Seating)
For one low price of $40, you may purchase a GENERAL SEATING FUNPASS, entitling you to attend the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday Mid-States Rodeo, Saturday evening performance of Kip Moore, and Sunday evening performance of Hank Williams Jr. With this FUNPASS, children age 5 and under are FREE.

(Reserved Seating)
For one low price of $50, you may purchase a RESERVED SEATING FUNPASS, entitling you to attend the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday Rodeo, Saturday evening performance of Kip Moore, and Sunday evening performance of Hank Williams Jr. RESERVED SEATING FUNPASS will allow you to have reserved seating for ALL rodeo and concert performances. All persons seated in the RESERVED GRANDSTAND MUST purchase a ticket.

Daily Rodeo Admission Tickets will go on sale at 6:00 pm based upon availability.
Prices of general admission tickets are as follows:
Rodeo $7 for general admission and $10 for reserved
(based on availability).

Concert-Only tickets are available at the Fair Office, (402) 454-2144. Concert-Only Tickets may either be purchased as a Concert Only Funpass with 1 Kip Moore General Admission Ticket and 1 Hank Williams Jr. General Admission Ticket for $30. Or you may purchase one of either night’s performers for $30. After July 7 all General Admission Concert Only Ticket will be $30 each per night.




Reservations for 4-H families begin May 9th.
and 8:00 a.m. May 16th for the general public

Camp sites - sites available with full hookup and some with water and electricity,
dump site on grounds

Long term parking available at reduced rate

(Campsites are available throughout the year — call the Fair Office for details)

Madison County Fairgrounds Map

Fairgrounds Map
  1. Horse Stalls & Barn
  2. Beef Tie Rails
  3. Sheep Pens
  4. Indoor Livestock Show Arena
  5. Swine Pens
  6. Playground
  7. Small Pets Building
  8. Restrooms
  9. 4-H Offices
  10. Commercial Building
  11. 4-H Building
  12. Kids Zone Building
  13. Concession Hall
  14. Open Class Building
  15. Activity Center
  16. Ticket Office
  17. First Aid Station
  18. Grandstand - Reserved Seating
  19. Grandstand Rodeo Arena
  20. Rodeo Chutes & Pens
  21. General Admission Seating
  22. Concert Stage - General Admission Seating During Rodeo
  23. Beer Garden
  24. East Horse Arena
  25. Commercial Parking
  26. Carnival/Midway Area

Madison County Fair History

Early picture of Madison County Fair - Date Unknown.

Early picture of Madison County Fair - Date Unknown.

The Madison County Fair was started in 1873 at the First Presbyterian Church on the corner of third and Main. On March 2, 1874 those interested in the Madison County Agricultural Society met to make plans for the second Madison County Fair and to better organize. Section 8 of the regulations governing the society was amended to require parties competing to pay $1.00 and thus become members in the society and secure funds to conduct the fair. They secured twenty-three members. A committee was then formed to prepare a track for the exhibition of trotting and running stock. It was then decided to hold the fair at Madison, Nebraska. The Fair was conducted mostly by volunteers.

The Madison County Ag Society membership elected to carry out the fair was called "The Fair Board" for many years. It is now called the Board of Directors and all registered voters are considered a member of the Madison County Ag Society. Any of the registered voters may run for a seat on the Board of Directors and vote. There are five voted on each year to serve a term of three years, they may re-run if they so wish. The Board of Directors of the Madison County Ag Society now number fifteen members. They donate their time, energy and talents to produce one of the best fairs and rodeos in the State of Nebraska.
The fair was held in the downtown area until 1882. After tornadoes and a big fire hampered the events in the downtown area, they moved to the Pete Barnes farm, (now the Gary White farm) and held the events in a meadow. The 4-H groups and schools were beginning to become active participants and volunteers in participating and helping with the fair.

In 1885 a group of Madison citizens known as the Madison Driving Park Association, incorporated for the purpose of purchasing 25 acres in the northwest part of Madison (part of the present day fairgrounds) for use as the County Fairgrounds and leased it to the Madison County Ag Society (MCAS). It also built a trotting horse race track, which until the late 1930's was a part of the fair attraction. Madison Downs then began with horse racing. The racing program was separated from the fair until attendance fell off. Horse racing came to an end in 1971. The MCAS then became the main supporter of events. They incorporated and started meeting once each month and still do to this day.

The Fairgrounds were used for other events throughout the year, the school rented it for an athletic field; buildings were rented to organizations and family groups for meetings, reunions etc. In the 1930's, the Army leased some of the grounds to build a CCC Camp, which, in 1943 were returned to the MCAS by the Army. They were then utilized for use as 4-H horse barns for the fair and rented out for stables in the winters. (These were later torn down and a multipurpose livestock barn with inside arena was built. (One of the original barns is still used).

In the last years of the races the Madison Downs group authorized the Madison Jaycees to use the fairgrounds for a Rodeo. In 1998 upon expiration of the original contract with the Jaycees, MCAS took over the rodeo. To this day the rodeo is a main attraction for the Madison County Fair. National entertainment artists have been featured at the fair as well. The 4-H Clubs all have exhibits and livestock shows they participate in during the fair. The schools also display student artwork during the fair. A large fireworks finale was began in 1996 and has become a tradition. The carnival during the fair was first introduced in early 1900 and is still a main attraction. During the day there are all kinds of action: contests and shows, turtle races, ice cream eating contest, etc. to draw everyone's interest. The Fair and Rodeo is usually held in the month of July.

The Madison County Fairgrounds have grown from 25 acres and a few old houses to 75 acres and many modern updated buildings - 3 arenas (two outside and one large inside one), beef, horse, sheep, swine, and small animal housing with electricity, lights, plugs for grooming animals, and wash racks. It has plenty of parking with shuttle service to and from the parking areas to the main entrance. A camping area is available for those that was to stay all week during the fair and for camper tours etc. Restrooms are modern; two have showers with hot water. In 1995 a large fair office and boardroom were constructed. Additional facilities include: an Open Air building, concession stand, nearly new grandstands, and the Octagon Building (older historic building that was called the center building. It was built sometime in the mid 1800's). The grounds, buildings, and arenas are rented out and used year-round.

The 133rd Annual Madison County Fair will again be the host to well over 50,000 fairgoers this year. Attendance at the Fair has grown from a crowd of 50 to 60 people in 1873 to over 50,000 during the week in 2000.


Fairgrounds Events

Click on an event on the calendar to show a complete description.
You can click on the agenda tab to get a quick view of all upcoming events.

Buildings Available

The Madison County Fair Board invites you to take a look at the buildings available for your event planning needs.

Commercial Building

Commercial Exhibit Hall

Seats 400-800 people
(depending on table and chair setup)
Heat and Air Conditioning
Large kitchen with serving window
Rent: $250.00

See images from a wedding rental!

4H Building

4-H Building

Kitchen with serving window
Seats 200-400 people
(depending on table and chair setup)
Rent: $200.00

No Image Available


McLeb Meeting Room

Heat and Air
Kitchen with serving window
Seats 50-75 people
Rent: $75.00


Indoor Arena

Indoor Arena

70' x 150'
Indoor seating for 400+

Activity Center

Activity Center

Outdoor area - concrete floor - covered roof
Picnic tables available
Stage available
Power for bands and etc.
Rent: $75.00

No Image Available


Dump site on grounds
20 sites with sewer, power & water
20 sites with electricity only
66 sites with water and electricity
Long term parking available at reduced rate


Grand Champions

Category Champion Name Hometown

Madison County Fair Survey

We at the Fair Board want to make the Madison County Fair an event you visit year after year!
We can do that with your comments and suggestions.

Please fill in the short survey below.

*Name: *Zip Code: *Email:

How did you hear about the Madison County Fair? (please check all that apply)

Visiting the Area
Word of Mouth
Community Papers

How many years have you been coming to the Madison County Fair?

How many times per year do you visit the grounds for events?

How many days during the fair do you attend?

How many people come with you?

What do you like about the Fair?

Grandstand Entertainment:


Madison County Fair Comments

To help the Fair Board better plan the Madison County Fair,
we welcome any comments or suggestions that you would like to offer...

Please fill in the box below:



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