NEBRASKAland Aug/Sept 2017

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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NSHS RG3348-6-266 The Red Cloud Chief on Sept. 17, 1889, reminded readers: "Don't forget the [Webster County] fair which commences next Tuesday. Chariot races every day. Do not fail to come. Every farmer in Webster county should make it a point to be present." Not everyone was a fan. Some people complained that such entertainment had nothing to do with a fair's true purpose: to educate the public and improve agriculture. The Columbus Journal on March 25, 1885, called chariot racing "one of the nonsensical attractions (?) of the State Fair" and an "abuse of the object for which fairs are intended, having no recommendation except that it is a 'drawing' feature to swell the gate receipts." The Columbus paper also reprinted sarcastic commentary from the Nebraska State Journal: "We observe that the board of managers of the State Fair have retained the chariot race as a feature of the annual exhibition. We are delighted to see it. The intimate relation between the improvement of agriculture and the spectacle of a half-naked woman driving four old plugs at a gallop around the race track is so intimate and vital as to need no comment." But chariot racing remained popular until other forms of entertainment – such as automobile racing – took its place. Chariot races are still a feature of some modern rodeos. ■ Visit the Nebraska State Historical Society's website at AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 2017 • NEBRASKAland 13 NSHS NSHS NSHS NSHS RG3 RG3 RG3 RG3348 348 348 348-6 26 6 26 6 26 6-266 Roman chariot racing in the public imagination. Illustration in the Omaha Daily Bee, Oct. 21, 1906.

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