WAHOO – The Saunders County Fair is right around the corner and Doug Tetley is ready.
“It has been pretty hectic around here, but I really enjoy it,” said Tetley. “You just have to take a deep breath and say ‘alright let’s go’.”
The 2019 Saunders County Fair will be Tetley’s first fair as Saunders County Agricultural Society’s ground superintendent.
He spent the previous five fairs as long-time superintendent Dan Havelka’s part-time assistant. Tetley would work for five weeks in prior years: two weeks before the fair, the week of the fair and two weeks after the fair. Havelka retired following last year’s fair and Tetley was handed the reigns.
Tetley worked for the Union Pacific for 41 years. He spend 20 years on the trains and 21 years in management.
“My years on the railroad and now with the Agricultural Society in many ways are similar,” commented Tetley. “You have to be able to manage people and situations.
“We need to be prepared for weather. Often you have to have two different facilities ready in case an event has to be moved.”
But, Tetley’s job involves more than the fair. The fairgrounds are used throughout the year.
“This facility is used year round,” stated Tetley. “I am down here about every day.”
Tetley is responsible for the gun club, campgrounds, fairgrounds and all buildings on the property, as well as the east and west parking lots.
“There is always something to do,” said Tetley. “I spent a lot of time in the spring and summer on the mower.”
There is a pride in the work to be done.
“The board does a real nice job keeping up the facilities,” Tetley stated. “The members of the board want to have a real nice facility and are some of the finest people I have ever met.”
“The board wants our facilities to be used. We have quite a few groups that routinely use our grounds.”
Tetley spends most of his time in the 4-H and Commercial buildings, as well as the pavilion.
“It takes me three to four hours to water down the arena before I work the ground, and I try to do that about two times a week,” he added.
The pavilion is the home of livestock shows, archery practice and competition, horse riding and team roping.
The pavilion is so well maintained that Tetley even has baseball and softball teams using the facility when weather prohibits outdoor practice.
“I enjoy working with people. The board members, the 4-H superintendents and everyone associated with the fair grounds are great to work with,” stated Tetley.
When he is not at work, Tetley enjoys officiating sports, fishing and working with his wife, Marcia, on their goat farm.