ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The West Texas Fair & Rodeo may be known for good time, but the unexpected is always just one bad decision away. Lost kids, fist fights and fairground disasters are all potential troubles the Taylor County Sheriffs Office (TCSO) is on the watch for each year at the Taylor County Expo Center.
“We hope for the best but plan for the worst,” said Chief Deputy Cliff Griffin for TCSO.
Deputy Griffin and Sheriff Ricky Bishop said they’ve just about seen it all in their time with the department.
“People arguing or missing or lost kids,” Sheriff Bishop began a train of thought and Deputy Griffin finished, “I remember one year we had a helicopter crash out here… Thankfully nobody was injured badly.”
Even the Crosstown Showdown between Abilene and Cooper High Schools have proven troublesome in past years, according to Deputy Griffin.
“That can sometimes cause some problems, depending on who won the game that year,” Deputy Griffin chuckled.
Sheriff Bishop included, “Every situation’s different and we treat them accordingly.”
TCSO’s presence has been the way of the West Texas Fair & Rodeo since its beginning 125 years ago.
“I imagine it was probably a little bit more of like the wild west,” Chief Bishop painted. “I’m sure there was a lot more guns and a lot more people taking things into their own hands.”
Such was the story of an early Taylor County Deputy who caught a young man with his daughter at the fair back around the turn of the century.
“That was back in the 1800s. He ended up shooting the so-called boyfriend and it’s part of the history of Taylor county and the history of, I guess you would say, the Sheriff’s Office and the fair,” Deputy Griffin told the story.
Thankfully, times have changed but the fair remains under the watchful eye of today’s TCSO.
“I enjoy being out here with the people,” Griffin explained “I enjoy seeing the smiles on their face, but mostly I’m glad to be out here because this is our community. This is who we serve.”
Sheriff Bishop added, “If there’s any trouble, come find one of us and we’ll take care of you.”