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The 2023 La Salle County Fair, Wild Hog Cook-Off, Junior Livestock Show and Ranch Rodeo was dedicated this year to the Kinsel family of Cotulla, with the fair association recognizing generations of support for and participation in the events.
A ceremony honoring the family was held during the official grand opening of the county fair Thursday afternoon, March 9, in the pasture pavilion on the county fairgrounds, kicking off four days of festivities that involved La Salle County residents and visitors of all ages.
The fair association noted in its dedication this year that members of the Kinsel family have taken active roles in all aspects of the event for more than 40 years, having had teams in the cook-off, youths participating in the livestock show and food show, and being engaged in organizing and helping run many of the contests and games throughout the weekend.
“Dorothy and Dan Kinsel Jr. have been long-time fair participants and supporters,” the fair association reported. “Dan Jr. and his cook-off team, the Brush Country Squealers, which usually included Lee Roy Peters and Fred Knaggs, were busy cooking wild hog meat in the 1980’s. Dorothy helped with food judging, and won many awards herself in the food show.
“Dorothy frequently contributed to the scholarship fund,” the dedication continued. “Their sons, Dan III and Karl, participated in the first ranch rodeo event in about 1988 on the Kinsel Cattle Company team. Beginning in about 1992, Dan III’s wife Leslie first assisted Jim Gates and Corky Weeks with the ranch rodeo, and took over a few years later. She continued organizing the production of the Sunday show until 2016, then turned it over to Kevin Coleman. During that time, she added a cowboy church worship time prior to the start of the Sunday events, which – thanks to Charlie Brown and others – was broadcast over the entire fairgrounds.
“Leslie also helped Peggy Hillje with KKYX radio ads and with the queen contest, and helped Jimmy Barbour and Diann Brown with corporate and tax paperwork.”
“Leslie and Dan’s kids started another generation of fair participation,” the association noted. “Matt and Hailey were frequent entries in the pet parade in the 1990’s, with each winning the top prize. Leslie and Dan often provided a float for the youth rodeo club to ride in the Saturday parade, when the kids were younger.
“As 4-H members, Matt and Hailey worked the Sunday entrance gates, collecting admission fees,” the association noted of the third generation of Kinsels taking part. “Hailey sang the national anthem and carried a flag for the ranch rodeo opening ceremonies. Matt and Hailey also entered most youth competitions, including the essay contest, art show, food show, science fair, and livestock show. Hailey won the essay contest, while Matt won the science fair. Both had numerous wins in the livestock show with goats and later steers, including showmanship awards for both. The sales proceeds from their junior livestock show projects helped pay for their college educations, thanks to the generosity of the many auction buyers.
Family companies Kinsel Cattle Company, Dan & Karl Kinsel Ptp, and Dan Kinsel Ranch Broker all were auction buyers, buying livestock show projects from 4-H and FFA members year after year.
“In addition, Dan often represented and made purchases for numerous donors who could not attend,” the association added. “Leslie helped Dora and David Wolfe with the bookkeeping during the livestock auction, then often bought a treat in the food auction, with a little encouragement from Cissy Allen and Judy Northcut.
“Dan and Karl treated themselves to a racing pig and enjoyed training and racing it in the wild hog races many times,” the dedication read. “In recent years, Hailey’s competition schedule as a professional barrel racer often conflicts with the fair weekend, pulling Dan and Leslie away from Cotulla, but they still love to support the fair as members and contributors.”
A sign honoring the family was posted at the side of the rodeo arena in the center of the county fairgrounds to mark this year’s dedication. Family members Dorothy, Dan, Leslie, and Karl were present Thursday to receive the honors.