Mastin difficult to replace

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By Donald Richie

After 18 years as chair of the 4-H fair board, Chapie Mastin retired at the beginning of the year.

The board chose Christy Hall and Greg McCauley to step into Mastin's shoes and run the show.

"Chapie said it took two people to replace him," joked Greg McCauley last week.

Mastin's retirement means the end of an era not only in Harrison County, but beyond.

"Chapie's very well known at the state level, there were a lot of people who couldn't believe he was retiring," Hall said. "It is very uncommon for a chairman to stay on for that amount of time."

Being chair of the fair board meant a lot to Mastin, McCauley said. A great deal of his time was dedicated to the event and ensuring it ran smoothly, "during the fair, before and after," McCauley said.

"He was always available," added Hall.

For those involved, on all levels, the fair lasts more than one week. The reality is, a successful county fair takes all year to plan and prepare.

Hall and McCauley said Mastin was tireless in his dedication to that end. He started planning one year's fair as soon as the previous one was finished.

"Trying to find someone to replace him was kind of hard," said McCauley. "He dedicated a lot of time out there... if there wasn't somebody to do something out there, he would step in and do it, whether it was a horse show or a beauty pageant.

"I know we've got some big shoes to fill."

"Chapie was always interested in every event that went on at the fair," Hall added. "He was always concerned about every event."

Mastin's era as chair saw many changes to the fair and its grounds.

Since 1989 - Mastin's first year - a new barn has been added, the tractor pull track has been added, the carnival area has been improved, a new kitchen was added and much more.

Hall and McCauley agreed that the hardest year for Mastin, in terms of managing the fair, was in 2006 when heavy rains all week made attendance drop dramatically.

"That put a lot of pressure on him," he said.

Mastin will continue serving as a member, just not as chair. He also continues serve on the 4-H center board.

In the end, it was all about family.

"I think the biggest thing with the fair is trying to keep one big family event in town that still brings the community together," Hall said. "Family is important to Chapie and he saw it as a huge family event as well."

Retiring will allow him to spend more time with his own family - maybe he will take them to the 2008 fair.