Meet The Candidates

There are ten candidates running to be on the Hardin County Agricultural Society board of directors, commonly referred to as the Hardin County Fair Board. To better serve our members, we asked each of the candidates a series of questions, and have their motivations for running here for you.

Buck Township

Jason Fulton | Incumbent

Jason Fulton is seeking re-election after completing his freshman year on the board. Jason was involved in 4-H for eight years showing horses at the Hardin County Fair. When reaching high school, Jason became active in showing swine projects through the Kenton FFA Chapter.

Jason said his first year was both exciting and educational while he “got his feet wet” learning what the fair board does and the behind-the-scenes workings of the fair. He was involved in the Dairy Beef Feeder committee, pedal tractor pull committee, and the appreciation committee. Jason said:

I was amazed to see what it really takes to put on a fair and I was very impressed with the level of commitment that I witnessed from the other directors and the staff, not only during the fair, but throughout the entire year.

Fulton would like to continue to learn more about the board, serve on different committees to gain a better understanding of the board and how it works. He would like to work on the release procedures to make the system more user-friendly for exhibitors and their families. in a closing thought, Jason had this to say:

I truly believe that we have one of the nicest fairs in the state of Ohio and I want to help that tradition continue in any way that I can.

Director-at-Large (3-year term)

Director-at-Large (1-year term)

Dale Cockerell | Incumbent

Dale Cockerell exhibited both beef cattle and swine projects for 9 years in 4-H. He was first elected to the board in 2004. Dale said his time on the board has shown him there is much more to the fair than what might meet the public’s eye. Dale said this of being involved.

It’s not just going to meetings and riding around on gators the week of the fair. It takes a whole year to prepare and organize for what all needs to happen for one week.

Dale has a continuing mission of improving and progressing the fair year after year and feels that all should share that philosophy. He said:

There are a lot of things our fair does well. Probably the one that hits me the hardest is how we can work together and get work done to make the fair run as smooth as possible.

In terms of large-scale projects, Dale would like to work to set guidelines to encourage people to run for the board that will support our exhibitors, guests, and other board members versus a personal issue, or seeking free access to meal tickets, camping, and golf cart transportation.

Dudley Township

Brad Murphy | Incumbent

Brad Murphy describes himself as the “odd duck” when it comes to his youth involvement in the fair. He grew up in rural Gallia County, where the fair was a great source of pride for the community. Brad is married to Amanda (Black) Murphy, who grew up in Hardin County, has “indoctrinated” him into the fair pride and culture. Since the met in 1998, Murphy has only missed a single fair, even while living in Charlotte, NC until 2002.

Murphy has served on the board’s Executive, Entertainment, Gates, Sponsorship, Horse, Arts & Crafts, and Rides & Concessions committees in his time on the board. Brad says:

I’ve learned a lot, but there’s so much more to learn to ensure that we’re providing the best possible experience for the community and our exhibitors.

Brad has two sons that have shown beef and poultry projects and will continue to be active in exhibiting both livestock and non-livestock projects.

Murphy’s goals for the board include developing a long-term strategic plan for facility and grounds upgrades. Brad is sure to note that:

We’ve made some positive strides with care and maintence on some buildings, and we’re working on infrastructure improvements to make the visitor experience better.

Brad would like to implement this plan with input from the community and continue to uphold the highest levels of transparency in an effort for all community members to understand how the board is utilizing their contributions.

He believes in a few simple objectives for our fair.

  1. Improving Junior Fair exhibitor experience to foster an environment to continue to learn, grow, and develop.
  2. Improving guest and exhibitor experience, making the Hardin County Fair a “can’t miss” event that the community is proud of.
  3. Involving the community to instill a sense of ownership and pride in the fair.
  4. Operating the fair in a fiscally responsible manner.

In a closing thought Brad said:

It’s a long process that will take a lot of dedication and hard work from all of us. I hope to continue contributing to the Hardin County Fair as an elected director, Representing Dudley Township.


Lynn Township

Paul Ralston | Incumbent

Paul Ralston has been on the board for six years and exhibited beef, lamb, and several non-livestock projects in his junior fair days. He has been involved with gates, rides and concessions, executive, grain/vegetables/crops poultry, beef, grandstand/entertainment, grounds, pedal tractor pull and rabbit committees.

Paul’s goals for the board involve financial conservancy and continuing to explore new ways to cooperate with the community and continue to attract new fair guests.

In terms of agenda items, Ralston would like to construct a strategic plan for the board and the grounds for maintenance, but also working with emergency & disaster planning and how those events would impact the fair.

Pleasant Township

Christa Rarey | Candidate

While not involved in 4-H herself as a youth, Christa Rarey’s three sons have been involved in the program since the age of 9, and have exhibited various projects at the Hardin County Fair.

If elected, this will be Christa’s first year on the board. She said she has considered running before.

This year the opportunity came up to fill a spot that became available in my township. I decided to run for that opening to fill in for the year to finish the 3 year term of the previous member.

Rarey says she doesn’t have any issues to address, or agenda to fulfill with her time on the board:

I just want to help the other board members in continuing to make our fair one of the best in the state. I love our fair and I do believe it is a great fair because of the support from our fair board members and community.


Roundhead Township

Steve Harpster | Candidate

Steve Harpster, like many, was involved in 4-H at the earliest age. He exhibited swine projects at the fair. His siblings and children, like him, were involved in the program for the nine years that were allowed. He hasn’t ever served on the board before.

Harpster said that the fair serves as an opportunity for youth to develop skills. He notes the wide range of opportunity exhibitors have at the species level (i.e. royalty) and at the fair level (i.e. Junior Fair Board)

Steve’s goals for himself on the board are just simply to get to know the rest of the board and get acclimated as to how the board works. He feels that the fair should be reflective of the county – both agriculture and industry, and feels that the animal agriculture component of the fair is vital to its success.

Washington Township

Craig Stump | Incumbent

Craig Stump got his start at the Hardin County Fair exhibiting projects through his high school Agriculture Education program & FFA Chapter.

He has served on the board for the past six years, serving two terms as Vice-President and a single term as President. Stump has been involved in the racehorse, camping, dairy beef, grounds, entertainment and executive committees among many others.

Craig has a simple goal for his service to the board:

I think our fair offers a great variety of ways for kids and their families to get involved. My goal is to continue to find ways that all generations can take part in the fair.

More information on the election can be found here.

The election is slated for November 3rd from 3:00 pm to 7:00 in the fair office. The annual meeting of the society will be held at 7:30 and the reorganizational meeting will be immediately following, both in the Arts & Crafts Building.