Arts and Entertainment

State Fair kicks off with rodeo action, Clay Walker and Colt Ford concerts

Clay Walker, an award-winning singer with hits like “Rumor Has It” and “Fall,” was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1996. But with encouragement from family and friends, he manages to stay on top of the debilitating neurological condition.  - Courtesy photo
Clay Walker, an award-winning singer with hits like “Rumor Has It” and “Fall,” was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1996. But with encouragement from family and friends, he manages to stay on top of the debilitating neurological condition.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

For the Reporter

The extreme world of rodeo and a pair of solid concerts come to life on the first three days of the Washington State Fair in Puyallup, Sept. 5-21.

Clay Walker ("Live Until I Die" and "Dreaming with my Eyes Open") performs after the opening night rodeo on Sept. 5, and Colt Ford ("Drivin' Around Song" and "Back") takes the stage following the Saturday night pro rodeo.

Tickets for the concerts and rodeo go on sale at 10 a.m. Feb. 27. Tickets are available on the Fair website or by phone at 888-559-FAIR (3247) daily, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets also can also be purchased at the Fair's box office at 9th Avenue Southwest and Meridian Street on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A $1 per ticket service fee will be charged for on-site purchases.

Two types of tickets will be sold for the rodeo and concert on both Friday and Saturday evening:

• Combo tickets for the evening rodeo and concert are for reserved seating and include State Fair gate admission.

• Tickets to stand in the dirt for the concert only are general admission first come first stand basis - and include State Fair gate admission.

A special season pass is available for rodeo fans. This pass sells for $85, and features the same seat for all five rodeo performances, including the Walker and Ford concerts. The season pass includes State Fair gate admission.

Clay Walker

Clay Walker started his country music career at the young age of 16 years old. While working nights as a desk clerk at a Super 8 Motel, he took a tape of a song he wrote to a nearby Houston radio station. While the disc jockey was not supposed to play it, he did, and Walker's career began. He had other loves, too, fitting of a country music singer. Walker placed seventh in the cutting horse competition at the Houston Livestock Rodeo, the nation's largest rodeo.

Walker's first single on his debut album flew up the chart, with "What's It To You" landing at No. 1. This was followed with his second consecutive No. 1 hit, "Live Until I Die." Since that time he's placed 31 titles on Billboard's singles chart. He's realized four platinum-selling albums, two gold albums, and disks that sold over 500,000 units.

Walker has two causes that touch his heart, the first being Band Against MS (BAMS). To date he has raised nearly $2 million for the cause, which is fitting since he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1996. The second cause he helped co-found, Military Warriors Support Foundation (

For further information, visit

Colt Ford

Born in Athens, Ga., Jason Farris Brown, followed his first dream, to become a professional golfer, playing in the Nationwide Tour. His interests turned to country music and hip hop, and assuming the stage name Colt Ford, he released his debut album, Ride Through the Country with a label he cofounded, Average Joe's Entertainment. He co-wrote the song "Dirt Road Anthem" for his debut album, which was included in albums produced by Brantley Gilbert and Jason Aldean.

Ford wrote the theme song for the Professional Bull Riders Association, titled "Buck 'em". His third studio album was Every Chance I Get. The lead-off single on the album, "Country Thang", debuted on the country charts. The album's second single was "She Likes to Ride in Trucks," featuring Craig Morgan.

His fourth album, Declaration of Independence became his first No. 1 album on Billboard's Top Country Albums. "Back" made the Top 40 on the Hot Country Songs chart.

For more information, visit

More acts will be announced in the coming months for the State Fair's Columbia Bank Concert Series. Visit for updates, or sign up at to receive email or text announcements prior to the concert on-sale dates.



Date, performance, time, prices

• Sept. 5: Justin Playoffs Rodeo, 1 p.m. Friday matinee, $5*/$18

• Sept. 5: Clay Walker concert following rodeo (country), 6:30 p.m., $50 (Golden Saddle), $40, $30, $40 (standing in the dirt)

• Sept. 6: Justin Playoffs Rodeo 1 p.m. Saturday matinee, $30, $20, $16

• Sept. 6: Colt Ford concert following rodeo (country), 6:30 p.m., $35 (Golden Saddle), $25, $20, $30 (standing in the dirt)

• Sept. 7: Justin Playoffs Rodeo, Puyallup Finals, 1 p.m., $35, $25, $20

• Sept. 13: An Evening with Keith Urban, "Light the Fuse Tour" (country), 7:30 p.m., $100 (Golden Circle), $80, $40. Pre-show dinner: $55

• Sept. 17: Michael W. Smith/Amy Grant (Christian), 7:30 p.m., $50 (Golden Circle), $40, $30

• Sept. 18: Jeff Dunham (comedy), 7:30 p.m., $75 (Golden Circle), $50, $40. Pre-show dinner: $55

* Friday 1 p.m. rodeo does not include Fair gate admission. Gates are open free from 10 a.m.-noon.

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