The Jim Wells County 80th Annual fair announced their parade marshall and fair dedication of four individuals who have played a huge part with the county fair and their countless hours, time and effort they volunteered assisting participants.

2017 Jim Wells County Fair Parade Marshall 

John Slater

The Slater family moved to Orange Grove June of 1956 where John had been employed as Vocational Agriculture teacher. It took only one year to realize this was the place they wanted to live and raise their family.

The Jim Wells County fair has played a tremendous part of their life. Their five children were very active in the fair along with their dad. John served many years as the swine superintendent where he was known as “Boss Hog.” He has enjoyed and appreciated the support of the parents and children for the past 60 years.

In 1959, or there about, he moved a small travel trailer to the fairgrounds as a convinience and to save on gas. It only took five years to become a fan, which turned the fair into a truly family affair.

John is this year's parade marshall because of his 51 years of service to the fair and in appreciation for his dedication to the youth and their families.

"Words can't explain the joy we have each year as we meet and visit with so many friends," said Slater. "Thank you all for this honor."

Jim Wells County Fair Dedication is in memory of four individuals who had an impact with the Jim Wells County fair for their volunteerism and commitment to the county's fair and participants.

2017 Jim Wells County Fair Dedication

Michael Buegeler

Michael Buegeler was a hard working husband and father, he is remembered by his family as a man that was full of life and love. He enjoyed all of the years he served as the superintendent in the rabbit barn. After serving as superintendent for many years in the rabbit barn he then turned his time to the cattle barn where he dedicated his time to helping young contestants with their show animals during validations, check-in's, and shows.

Prior to JWC show Michael enjoyed helping each October and January in preparation for steak dinner, and annual fair meeting as well as cooking for both of these events. If you ever needed a key for equipment during the fair workdays, you always knew Michael was the man to call! He had the keys and was always willing to lend a helping hand with the equipment you needed.

On behalf of Michael Buegeler, it is an honor to be a part of the 2017 Jim Wells County Fair.

Buegeler served as board of director from 1992 to 2016.

Mark Cantu

Mark Anthony Cantu, of Cruz Calle, Texas, (June 27, 1958 – October 20, 2013) the man who our children adore more than anyone in the world. His parents are Maria Fantina Cantu and Henry (dec’d) Cantu. He was a proud 1976 graduate of Premont Hight School. Mark was married to Nora A. Cantu and together they had three children Sitarra (Gabe) Pulido, Seth Christian Cantu, Sia Isabella Cantu and two grandchildren Cruz Gabriel and Jude Thaddeus Pulido. Mark was a remarkable man who was well respected and was well known for his unselfishness, compassion, humility and willingness to lend a helping hand. His family, his faith and his love for life drove his life choices and guided his path and that of his family. Mark was a strong man who left behind a beautiful legacy for his family.

He devoted his days to guiding, caring , loving and encouraging his children to be loving and honorable people. Mark had a true dedication to hopeless cases and he always assisted those in need. As a devoted Catholic, Mark was an active member of St. Theresa of the Infant Jesus Catholic Church in Premont, Texas. He volunteered as a CCD teacher and was a member of St. Theresa’s Finance Council. Mark served as a member of the St. Elizabeth Catholic School Advisory Council, the Premont Independent School District School Board and Jim Wells County Fair Association board of director from 1992 to 1994 and again from 1999 to 2010.

Mark was instrumental in assisting the educational institutions he was associated with. He was one of the founders of P.R.I.D.E. (Premont Residents Involved In Dynamic Education) that focused on doing whatever it took to save the schools of Premont. Mark dedicated close to 30 years of service to the United States Postal Service where he last served as postmaster in Benavides, Texas. Mark lost his battle to a disease called (ALS) Lou Gehrigs Disease. 

As his wife, if I must say something I know he would want me to say “just tell them that I loved y’all with a love that was more than love and that I lived to find the beauty of the world and take you close to it, every day, so that you become a part of it, too.” He took us his family to the openings of Heaven right here on earth. His family was everything to him. It’s a story we built our life around it’s a story that still feels like a dream. We are still learning to let go and welcome the ever so clear changing of time gracefully. Rest in paradise Mark.

Herman Herrington

Herman Darrel Herrington beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend, left this world on January 28, 2017 at the age of 88 to join the heavenly angel band of teachers, fishermen and hunters.

Herman's teaching career in high school vocational agriculture, which spanned more than three decades, began in Ben Bolt in 1954. During his 12 years there, not only did he develop life-long friendships, but he was respected for the excellent program he developed which saw his 'Ag Boys' earn county and statewide honors in the FFA program. His last two decades of teacher Ag were in Premont where his students were successful in Ag contests both on the local, state and national level. For years, he was a mainstay at the Jim Wells County fair and stock show and his students were known as the ones who set the bar high in all areas of competitions. It was in Premont that girls were first permitted to take Ag classes which provided the opportunity for his two youngest daughters to excel in the FFA program. The respect he earned from fellow educators, as well as the students he taught and their parents was the basis of friendships formed across the state that lasted throughout his life. 

Herrington served with the fair association from 1954 to 1985.

Maria Valverde

Maria Valverde, age 49, passed away on September 29, 2016 surrounded by her family. Maria believed wholeheartedly in education which she earned two Master’s degrees one in Early Childhood Education and the other in Counseling and Guidance. Maria always wanted to make a difference in everything she did. She enjoyed helping people, especially kids. This attribute contributed to her many years being involved with the 4H Program. She strongly believed in assisting the 4H youth community. This included engaging youth to reach their fullest potential while advancing the field of youth development. She devoted all of her spare time to this organization and truly stood by the 4H motto, “To make the best better”.. She was the Club manager for the Hoppin’ 4H group for over 8 years as well as being an Adult Council Officer, and through all those years, 4H became her second family. She got her daughter, Anissa Valverde, involved in the 4-H program at the age of 9. They learned about the rabbit project and would go around helping others in preparation for the Fair. Maria loved coming to the fair, especially coming to see the youth participate in events.

She will be dearly missed by all who knew her.

Maria left behind some big shoes to fill but her many years of service and dedication to 4H will continue to be in Jim Wells County. She served as 4-H Club manager from 2004 to 2012.