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Ishee named new GM of Rockingham County Fair Association

A nationwide search was conducted in recent weeks to hire a new General Manager for the Rockingham County Fair Association. The most qualified applicant for the position, however, was found locally and has been unofficially involved with the fair for numerous years. Jeff Ishee, farm broadcaster and writer residing in Mount Sidney, will assume his new job on Jan. 1.

“I am deeply humbled and honored to be selected for this position,” said Ishee. “The Rockingham County Fairgrounds is the epicenter of the Shenandoah Valley community in my opinion. I look forward to serving as the new General Manager and am grateful for the opportunity.”

Ishee replaces veteran GM Dennis Cupp, who recently retired after serving in the position for nearly three decades.

“Jeff Ishee embodies all of the qualities we were looking for in the general manager” observed Richard Chew, outgoing president of the Fair Association. “I am very pleased that Jeff is joining the Fair Association.”

The first Rockingham County Fair was held at the Linville Ball Park during the summer of 1949. The fair has been held at the present site on US Rt. 11 since 1980 and reported record attendance in 2011. The fairgrounds account for 111 acres of land, a 21,000-square-foot exhibit hall, a large barn complex, numerous buildings for horticulture and poultry exhibits, and food booths run by local civic organizations. There is also a large grandstand area for events such as concerts, tractor pulls, rodeos, and motocross.

“It is an enormous responsibility,” said Ishee. “My goal is to duplicate the successful management style of Dennis Cupp and continue to showcase the organization and the fairgrounds as the state’s finest agricultural county fair.” Ishee added he hopes to increase the use of the fairgrounds year-round, not just during fair week. “It is an ideal place for company picnics, family reunions and private parties.”

Incoming president Michael Gochenour said he is his excited about having Ishee join the Rockingham County Fair organization. “The Fair is extremely fortunate to have Jeff as our new general manager.  His passion for this community and this Fair can easily be seen.” said Gochenour.  “We look forward to having Jeff join our organization and we believe his ideas can further grow the reputation of this great fair in our community, state, and even across the country.  I think people will be hearing a lot from Jeff and the Rockingham County Fair over the coming months in different areas than you have heard us mention before.

The Rockingham County Fair Association is a non-profit organization that manages the Rockingham County Fair, Virginia’s premiere agricultural county fair.  The fairgrounds are used throughout the year for a variety of events including fundraising activities, livestock breed shows, trade shows, exhibitions and community events.

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