For 65 years, the Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo Fair has had its ups and downs -- like a bucking bronco.
From elephants on display to performances by Johnny Cash and Ted Nugent, the annual summer event never fails to entertain.
The fair began in Benton County in 1948, and the rodeo was added the next year. But it wasn't until 1954 that Benton and Franklin counties combined forces.
For years, local cowboy Glen Miller was featured on the front of the fair and rodeo program riding a bucking horse. The photo was taken before 1948.
The fair has evolved over the years, but the one thing that remains the same is the variety of amusement.
With the help of the Herald archives and Coreen Hulse of the East Benton County Historical Society and Museum, the following is a timeline of events from 1948 to today.
Hulse has compiled three large binders of fair and rodeo history to be displayed in the Agriculture 1 building during this week's fair, which opens today in Kennewick.
In May 1948, a fair association formed, evolving from the defunct Grape Festival and using money from the state and $1,000 from selling stock in the fair association at $25 a share.
The three-day event was Sept. 10-12 in Keewaydin Park in downtown Kennewick in a Quonset hut and at nearby Kennewick High School.
Charlene Osborne was crowned queen that year on the back of a Consolidated Freightways truck during halftime of a Kennewick-Toppenish football game.
The special entertainment that year was Leo Carrillo the "Cisco Kid" and his vaudeville show.
A large crowd attended the old timers picnic in the park on Sunday. It was a very casual fair that year, commented Kenneth Serier.
1949 -- The fair moved to the current grounds and the rodeo was added. Rodeo queen was Barbara Wells.
1950 -- Benton County Fair Association officers included Kenneth Serier, Frank Lampson, Lynn Thompson and E.C. Tweet. Queen was Barbara Owens.
1951 -- For the first time, the rodeo was held at night. Benton Public Utility District employees volunteered their time to hook up the lights. Queen was Carolyn Hall.
1952 -- The fair brought in a record $12,500. The main expense was the rodeo purse of $6,260. Posse officials said, "experience has shown that the rodeo, while it draws a heavy attendance, is not and has not been in the past a money-making enterprise." Queen was Vivian Helgeson.
1953 -- Plans were being sketched out for Benton and Franklin counties to join forces for the fair and rodeo. Queen was Sue Struck.
1954 -- Officially the Benton-Franklin County Fair and Rodeo. A new commercial exhibit building was added and attendance for the three days jumped to 40,000. Queen was Mary Jane Mullineaux.
1955 -- The parade started at the intersection of East Clearwater Avenue and Gum Street and finished at Auburn Street in downtown Kennewick. Admission to the fair still is free and is only one of three county fairs in the state to not charge a fee. About 5,500 people crammed into the rodeo grounds on the final night of action. Queen was Sondra Wade. Princess Jo-Ann Hofmeister went on to be a dancer with the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes.
1956 -- About 10,000 people lined the streets for the parade. Rain later washed out parts of the fair and rodeo. Queen was Arlene Smith.
1957 -- This was the first year the fair charged admission -- 50 cents. About 19,000 attended. The rodeo grounds were redesigned, bring the bucking chutes closer to the fans. Headlining the rodeo were Deb Copenhaver of Post Falls, Idaho, and Harley May of Deming, N.M. A top animal at the fair was Mike, a 1,075-pound angus belonging to Jack Moffett of Pasco. Queen was Sylvia Blair.
1958 -- There were 75 parade entries. America's top 1958 saddle bronc rider George Menkenmeier, 31, of Burns, Ore., died in a car crash on the way to the rodeo. Queen was Sallie Austin.
1959 -- A top exhibit was a cake made by Mrs. Henry Cummings of Mesa. The rectangular cake with white frosting had a tiny arrangements of realistic-looking bunches of grapes, ears of corn, radishes, carrots, potatoes and eggplant. A prize-winning quilt bore the names of all the states and each square contained the state flower. Queen was Judy Hamilton.
1960 -- There were 262 dairy exhibits, 290 sheep and 115 swine. A chariot race was added. Queen was Eileen Benitz of Prosser.
1961 -- Another 69 acres was purchased to increase the fairgrounds. Plans were to construct a mile-long race track, rodeo arena and bleachers costing up to $300,000, a $200,000 exhibit building and an entrance building. Queen was Joyce Hayes.
1962 -- Les Kamm of Pilot Rock was named all-round champion of the rodeo. Queen was Sharon Hartley of Kennewick.
1963 -- More than 1,100 exhibitors received $9,212 in prize money. Mac Griffith of Pendleton won the all-around title at the rodeo. He was shot to death in December 1964 in Prineville, Ore., after a drunken brawl. Queen was LaNay Munsey.
1964 -- The fair expands from three days to four. Attendance is 74,352, up from 53,419 the year before. Queen was Lee Ann Hamilton.
1965 -- $72,000 in improvements were unveiled at the fairgrounds. Queen was Marcella Chapman.
1966 -- The State Fair Association ranks the fair as one the top in the state. Fairs were judged on attendance, amount of prize money and appearance of exhibits and fairgrounds. Queen was Arleta Cronenwett.
1967 -- The fair board expected 75,000 people to come through the gates. Aerials performers Virginia and Al Hustrei dazzled fairgoers with their act that reached 132 feet in the air. Queen was Nicki Deal.
1968 -- In April, the covered bleachers at the rodeo arena burned. Later that year, the Benton County Posse made plans to build a $150,000 grandstand "that wouldn't burn." Queen was Saundra Cox of Mesa.
1969 -- A new covered grandstand, featuring 1,300 seats, welcomed rodeo fans. Television star Robert Conrad of Wild, Wild West was parade grand marshal. R.M. "Cork" Simmelink became fair board president. Queen was Debbie Kelly.
1970 -- Age of Aquarius was the theme for the open class floriculture exhibits. Queen was Margaret Surplus.
1971 -- Nearly 12,000 exhibitors competed for $13,000 in premiums. A blue ribbon was worth 56 cents. For the fourth consecutive year, Mark Bennett of Connell had the grand champion FFA steer at the fair. Queen was Denise Razor.
1972 -- Fair season tickets were $2 for adults and $1 for children 12 and younger. Box seats for the rodeo were $4. Queen was Joanne Shadel.
1973 -- Sheb Wooley, Linda Lintz and Pat Roberts were the all-star entertainment. Queen was Leanne Mason.
1974 -- Jerry Olsen and his buffalo Sam entertained the crowds at the rodeo. Olsen was the entertainment for the 1973 National Finals Rodeo. Queen was Donette Mason.
1975 -- Legendary country singer Tammy Wynette performed to a standing-room-only crowd. Janet Bennett, 17, of Connell, and Cathy Preston, 15, of Pasco, were the first girls to win grand champion livestock prizes. Queen was Carmen Flitton.
1976 -- A 1,400-pound steer broke free from its 18-year-old Kahlotus owner, creating pandemonium for 90 minutes and injuring a woman. When a 9-year-old West Richland girl's horse refused to be loaded in a trailer, she rode it to the fairgrounds, got lost and created a bit of panic before finally arriving at 2 a.m. Queen was Kelley La Hue.
1977 -- This was the first year a royalty court was not chosen. It was the biggest fair to date with more 10,000 exhibits.
1978 -- Elephant ears and lamb sandwiches were a big hit. A record $114,000 worth of animals were sold on Friday alone. Queen was Dori Ramsey.
1979 -- A Hereford show, sponsored by the American Hereford Association, was offered at the fair for the first time. Opening day attendance was 12,075 people, a 5 percent increase over the prior year and a 20 percent jump from opening day in 1977. Queen was Toni Garrett.
1980 -- Tommy Overstreet performed on the main stage. Queen was Micki Wandling.
1981 -- The big attraction at the fair was Sahib, a 7,254-pound Asian elephant. She gave rides for $1. This was the second year there was no fair court.
1982 -- Opening day crowd sets a record at 17,360 and the top entertainers were Jim Stafford and Stella Parton. About 15,000 cars were parked in the new parking lot. Cost was 50 cents a vehicle. Queen was Erin Devine.
1983 -- Fair attendance was 120,000. Queen was Janet Eggers.
1984 -- Fair association buys out Sun Downs for $150,000, taking over the paramutual horse racing and the concessions, which were quite lucrative with the beer sales. The fair market sale tops out at nearly $179,000. This was the third year there was no fair court.
1985 -- The tractor pull helped boost attendance. Reba McEntire and Charley Pride entertained the masses. Queen was Dianna Tanji.
1986 -- Johnny Cash and The Mamas and The Papas performed. A religious group had their permit withdrawn after giving out materials that challenged aspects of the Mormon and Catholic faiths. Queen was Paula Spalek.
1987 -- Benton County commissioners suggested a collection box to give a "generous public" a chance to donate to help the fair's financial woes. Queen was Angela Ensunsa.
1988 -- Attendance broke a record, 83,132 for the week. The Charlie Daniels Band was on the main stage. Queen was Laurie Ensunsa.
1989 -- Johnny Cash and Eddie Rabbitt were the top names on the stage. Queen was Holley Feraring.
1990 -- Near-record crowds braved rainy weather to see country singers Roy Clark and Jerry Reed, the latter of Smokey and the Bandit fame. Fairgoers told an official they'd "face the prospect of drowning" to see Clark. Queen was K.C. Ross.
1991 -- The crowd set a record for opening day attendance with a crowd of 19,158. La Toya Jackson performed a controversially provocative show. On opening night, a rodeo clown was hospitalized after being kicked by a bull. Queen was Becky Ripplinger.
1992 -- Headliners were Oak Ridge Boys, Seals and Croft, Lee Greenwood and Charley Pride. Attendance was a record-breaking 120,578. Queen was Frances Baldwin.
1993 -- Marty Stuart and Waylon Jennings performed. Attendance and concession sales were down from 1992. Many blamed poor attendance and sales on the unseasonably cold weather, with high temperatures in the mid-70s. Queen was Jennifer Cline.
1994 -- Hank Williams Jr. and Ricky Skaggs were headliners. Preston Premium Wines introduced a series of cowboy wines for the fair. Queen was Synove Thompson.
1995 -- The fair eclipsed the attendance mark with 138,898 patrons walking through the gate. Trisha Yearwood was the top name performer. Queen was Jamie Mahaffey.
1996 -- Willie Nelson, Toby Keith and Marc Chesnutt headed the lineup. The chuckwagon races continued to thrill crowds. Queen was Kelly Gravenslund.
1997 -- The fair invited back exhibitors who had previously been banned after a religious civil liberties group threatened a lawsuit. Queen was Krista Predzler.
1998 -- Kenny Loggins performed. John Payne, who called himself the Notorious One Arm Bandit, competed in the rodeo. Payne's right hand was amputated after he was jolted by 7,200 volts in 1973. Queen was Melissa Anderson.
1999 -- A lightly attended fair culminated with a performance by country singer Michael Peterson, a former Richland resident. Queen was Brandi Boderick.
2000 -- Willie Nelson, Wayne Newton and Pat Benatar performed. Marti Lehman of Pasco died the week before the fair and her children entered her quilt of The Beatles. It won first prize. A carnival ride malfunctioned and two fairgoers received minor injuries. Queen was Rachael Denniston.
2001 -- Wynonna Judd drew a large crowd. Three Dog Night performed to a slightly older audience. Attendance was up by 10,000 from the previous year at 124,884. Queen was Cassie Valdez.
2002 -- With a barrel of county money and the labor by inmates from Coyote Ridge Corrections Center, several once-mundane facilities received a new look reminiscent of the Wild West. Rodeo entries are way up, topping previous highs with about 480 contestants. Queen was Savannah Melbihess.
2003 -- Benton County commissioners and the fair association reached a tentative agreement on a new contract that keeps the event at the Kennewick fairgrounds through 2005. The association agreed to pay the county $150,000 to rent the grounds and parking lot. Mel Tillis was the big name on the main stage. The fair showed a loss $32,000. Queen was Ann-Erica Whitemarsh.
2004 -- Because of continued financial losses, the fair board said it had to find ways to break even. Entertainment and other fairgrounds improvements were scaled back. The fair and rodeo drew 114,368 visitors, compared to 122,931 the year before. Queen was Nikeela Black.
2005 -- In an attempt to get better attendance, the fair board hired Fairs' Faire Etc. from California. The change caused problems for the Kennewick Kiwanis Club, whose members have been volunteering at the fair for more than 40 years. The club had organized the parking lot workers, ticket sales and ticket collection at the gates for more than 20 years. This was the first year that all food vendors were required to use a cash register and turn in receipts at the end of each day. Queen was Caitlin Roberts.
2006 -- The fair association wanted to operate the fairgrounds year-round, claiming the county was doing insufficient maintenance on the grounds. Army Capt. Scott Smiley was the parade's grand marshal. Queen was Nicole Ray.
2007 -- Danika Pink, 11, of Pasco, sold Teddy, a 1,300-pound Hereford-Angus steer, for $2,790. The 4-H and FFA auction raised more than $450,000. Queen was Corey Heitz.
2008 -- The fair celebrates 60 years. Children visiting the fair were not allowed to hold, pet, cuddle or kiss the baby chicks at Old McDonald's Barn. The ban on handling the baby birds is meant to prevent any chance of passing a salmonella or E. coli infection to humans. Air Supply headlined the main stage entertainment. Queen was Michelle True.
2009 -- Attendance was up, reaching about 130,000. Contributions for the Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign to raise money for cancer passed $21,000. Queen was Brianna Williamson.
2010 -- Rocker Ted Nugent dropped the F-bomb during his performance at the fair. "Shame on you, Mr. Nugent, and shame on the fair board for allowing this type of conduct," said one letter to the editor. An 11-year-old Pasco boy offered to donate the money raised for his 1,100-pound steer to the fair's Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign. The steer went for $18.90 a pound with several people adding into the pot for a record $24,000 sale price. Queen was Amanda Foley.
2011 -- The official attendance was 115,664, only a slight drop-off from last year's 116,729. Queen was Brie Hall.
2012 -- Leo Bowman, longtime Benton County commissioner was the parade grand marshal. British classic rock band Foghat provided main stage entertainment. The fair offered charging stations for cell phones. Queen was Kelci Williamson.