VastatefairWhen it comes to offering equine events, the State Fair of Virginia is not horsing around.

Professional rodeo, mounted cowboy shooting shows, carriage driving, and miniature horse, draft horse and mule shows are among the many events sure to please every enthusiast.

Shows and demonstrations will kick off shortly after the fair opens. On Friday, Sept. 27, the 1st Virginia Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association will hold a new shooter’s clinic at 11:30 a.m., followed by a “practice for points” demonstration at 5 p.m. That evening at 7, ranch-type horses will run circles, spin in place and come to sliding stops during the Virginia Reining Horse Association Slide.

On Saturday, Sept. 28, the cowboy mounted shooting State Championship Shoot and the VRHA show will begin at 10 a.m. and continue through Sunday, Sept. 29, when an earth-shaking draft horse hitch show will begin at 6 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 30, will feature a draft horse and mule show at 10 a.m. and a draft horse pull at 6:30 p.m. Draft horses historically were bred for plowing and other heavy farm labor. Mules are the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse and are known for patience and sure-footedness. In pulling events, one or two animals in harness pull a weighted sled; the winner is the animal or team that can pull the most weight.

Professional rodeo competition will kick up some dust at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 1, and Wednesday, Oct. 2, with International Professional Rodeo Association-sanctioned bull riding, calf roping and barrel racing. Earlier on both days, fairgoers will have the opportunity to see some of the famous Chincoteague ponies during demonstrations at 11 a.m. and 2 and 6 p.m. by the Chincoteague Pony Centre.

An open miniature horse show at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 3, will feature animals that are smaller than 38 inches at the shoulder.

Shows will continue at 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 4, with a Morgan horse futurity show sponsored by the Old Dominion Morgan Horse Association and an all-breed pleasure driving show. Drivers will go for a spin in antique vehicles and replicas drawn by horses or ponies. An open youth miniature horse show will start at 2 p.m.

Events on Saturday, Oct. 5, will include a 4-H mounted drill team competition at 10 a.m. and 4-H ranch show at 1 p.m. A 4-H fun show will begin at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 6.

The Virginia High School Rodeo Association and Virginia Junior Rodeo Association will hold competitions the evening of Saturday, Oct. 5, and afternoon of Sunday, Oct. 6.

Other popular attractions at the Equine & Livestock Complex include mutton bustin’, a sheep-riding event for children weighing no more than 60 pounds, and sheepdog demonstrations featuring border collies that are all business when it comes to moving sheep from one place to another.

This year’s fair will include family favorites and some new attractions as well—racing pigs and disc-catching dogs; circus thrills and a mystifying magic show; Young MacDonald’s Farm; grizzly bears; chain saw sculpting; Virginia Tech Block & Bridle Club barbecue and Virginia State University fried fish; funnel cakes, fried Oreos and chocolate-covered bacon. Bands and other ensembles from across Virginia will perform throughout the day on the local music stage in the Triple Crown Amphitheater.

Visit StateFairVa.org/tickets for all available discounts and ticket options and to purchase tickets online. General admission tickets include all concerts, exhibits and attractions. Admission does not include rides; ride tickets and unlimited ride wristbands will be available for purchase inside the fair.

Parking at The Meadow Event Park is free.

Tickets will be available by mid-September at BB&T locations in the bank’s Central Virginia region, which includes Richmond, Charlottesville, Fredericksburg and Petersburg, and at most Martin’s Food Markets stores in the Richmond, Ashland, Tri-Cities and Williamsburg areas.

This year’s State Fair of Virginia will run from Sept. 27 through Oct. 6. Information is available at StateFairVa.org.

The State Fair is held each fall at its permanent home at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County. The fair’s mission is to increase agricultural and natural resource awareness and interest through educational programs, exhibitions and competitions in a fun, family-friendly setting.