The Hardin County Agricultural Society is proud to honor Kelly “Buck” Buchenroth for his many years of dedicated service to the Hardin County Fair.
Buchenroth spent seven years on the fair board after now retired director Jim Bidwell involved him.
“I didn’t want to get on the board. Both boys were showing and I just thought I’d wait until they were done,” he said. “But, folks like Jim gave their time, talent and treasures and I couldn’t tell him no.”
The list of accomplishments Buchenroth is responsible for on the grounds is extensive, and they are all centered around a theme of fiscal responsibility.
“When I got on the board, we lived paycheck to paycheck, scraping by with camping deposits and consignment sale funds to open the fair. Sometimes, they borrowed money,” Buchenroth said. “I came to my first meeting and said ‘I have a few questions about the financials.’ I guess that’s where it all started.”
Buchenroth secured funding for LED lighting across the fairgrounds – both inside and outside, then he – accompanied by some fellow directors and staff – installed them. The project continues to save the society tens of thousands of dollars on their electric bill.
Buchenroth, who owns an excavating company, could be found on the fairgrounds donating his time and equipment anytime a waterline needed mending, a hydrant needed to be replaced or drainage infrastructure needed to be repaired. The sum of his time and equipment donated is unknown, but can be estimated to be in the tens of thousands of dollars range.
Additionally, Buchenroth oversaw an electrical upgrade in the Merchant’s Building, the repainting of the Grandstand, construction of the Small Animal Show Arena, blacktop sealing of the roads, established the Livestock Fund, boring a water line under the racetrack to install a hydrant at the Horse Arena, and many more upgrades. Perhaps his most lasting contribution to the organization will be listing his name as a chartering member of the Hardin County Fair Foundation.
He retired from the board after the 2020 fair. He returned in 2021 to help his friends that remain on the board. Following the fair, Buchenroth fell ill with double pneumonia, a compilation of COVID-19. He continues to recover and is expected to make a complete recovery.
“I’ll be back to help again this year,” said Buchenroth. “Someone has to keep things fun around there.”
Buchenroth is married to his wife, Jolene. They have two sons, Kolt & Kody.