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Fair manager known for her ‘huge heart’

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Trish Lair, Eastern New Mexico State Fair manager. (Alison Penn Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Going on 20 years now, Trish Lair has dedicated her time as the Eastern New Mexico State Fair (ENMSF) manager.

Lair described her occupation as “anything you can possibly think of” involving the annual fair, from organizing the vendors to overseeing office duties.

It’s just like a “normal, natural thing,” Lair said of making the fair happen every year. “Everybody has their part and everybody does their part. Without our volunteers, we would not exist.”

The 97th Eastern New Mexico State Fair begins Monday with the parade beginning at 10 a.m., starting at College Boulevard and North Main Street, down to the fairgrounds at 2500 Southeast Main St. See the Daily Record’s special fair section in today’s edition for details.

In the fair office, Lair said a typical day can go from “complete quiet to chaos.” She recognized her team, year-round, of Rick Ford and Leslie Robertson — and Mikey McGuire, who helps seasonally — saying they work so well with each other.

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“I wouldn’t be here without them,” Lair said about the 75 fair volunteers. “I couldn’t do this without them, so they’re the backbone of the fair because like I said, they volunteer their time. They’re here, they give up a week of their life to come and be a part of this and make sure that it’s a success. …”

Since starting at the fair in May 1999, Lair said she has seen the fair grow into the “premier livestock show in the state.” She and Larry Hobson, ENMSF board president, started around the same time and have continued as a team.

What started out as just a job became a heartfelt “passion” for Lair.

“This is something that once you get involved, you fall in love with it,” Lair said. “… It just becomes a part of who you are and you become super close with everybody and become like family.”

The greatest changes Lair has seen are within the people associated with the fair. Her own four children showed animals and are now adults.

Lair moved to Roswell in the late 1980s from Bernalillo. She has been married to husband Eric Lair, who is with the Roswell Fire Department, for 19 years and the couple had their wedding on the fairgrounds.

“We had to plan our wedding around the fair, so if that tells how much (the) fair affects your life …” she laughed.

In 2005, Lair left for one year to open her own childcare business, but found it was difficult for her to not be a part of the fair. She returned in 2005.

She believes in the educational component of the fair and sees firsthand how children involved in the fair become responsible and active community members through animal husbandry and other activities.

“What our roots are about, especially in Roswell, is the ranching and farming and keeping that alive — that you just don’t go to the store to buy your food,” Lair said. “Somebody grows it for you.”

Aside from the fair, Lair owns a business with her husband and enjoys traveling, photography and scrapbooking, and is passionate about horses.

McGuire has known Lair for a long time and works seasonally as her assistant. She said Lair gives back to the community through her fair work and as a firefighter’s wife.

Bringing entertainment to Roswell and offering a chance for kids and families to experience something new is Lair’s mission, McGuire added.

“… She’s a very caring and loving person,” McGuire said of Lair. “She has a huge heart and she just wants to help people and just make our community a better place to live in, so she’s just a really good person.”

Special projects reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.