The hay bale stacking contest will have a proper shot at establishing itself this year at the Wood County Fair.

The contest debuted last year during a strange fair, impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Dave Nietz, a director on the senior fair board, said people had a great time with the contest in summer 2020.

“It’s a time to have fun. It’s a fun event, there’s no stress to it,” he said.

The idea to start this contest came from the Lucas County Fair. Nietz said the fair board often gets ideas for events from other fairs.

The contest seemed to fit the Wood County Fair, he said. The event appealed to all kinds of people last year.

“It’s a county fair, it’s a country fair. The contest is open to boys and girls, men and women. We had a good mixture last year,” Nietz said.

The hay bale stacking contest will take place on Tuesday and start a half an hour after the last horse race.

There is an entry fee of $20 per team. Pre-register for the contest at the fair office or register the day of the event.

The contest is a timed event. Teams of three will have up to 10 minutes to complete the contest.

Teams are tasked with loading 32 bales of straw onto a conventional single-axle pickup truck. Then they will drive through an obstacle course and unload and stack the bales in designated areas.

The contest starts and ends with the team seated and buckled in the truck. The engine must be off and all doors are closed. The team with the best time wins.

There are time penalties for each broken and fallen bale. Teams will also be penalized for not stacking the bales properly or for hitting the objects in the obstacle course.

For all of the rules, visit the Wood County Fair website.

With the contest still being new, the fair board is trying to find a spot for it. Nietz said they are setting a limit of 20 teams for the contest. This was to ensure they can find a night where they can start the contest at a reasonable time.

“We don’t know if we are going to have 20 teams. We thought we would start at 20 and we can build it from there,” he said.

If the contest gains popularity this year and the fair board can find a night to host the contest for a longer period of time, Nietz said they would then allow more teams to participate next year.

He also said he hopes the contest will become a staple in the fair for the years to come. The fair has to deal with the problem of events losing their appeal.

Nietz said the contest brings something new and different to the fair. The hay bale stacking contest could replace a struggling, older event.

“Our goal is to have events that people want to come to year in and year out. But, like anything else, everything runs its course and you have to find something new,” Nietz said.