Founded in 1976 as the Ector County Fair, concept sprang from previous year's fun-of-a-gun activities held during local observance of U.S. Bicentennial. Fair's early years drew contestants to chili cook-offs, cow chip tossings and an annual beauty pageant. A 1977 attempt to recreate Odessa's notorious Jackrabbit Roping of 1932 was cancelled after protests resulted in national publicity. The fair's title changed in 1978 to reflect regional area. Since 1997, annual nine-day event presents business booths, creative arts, entertainment, farming and ranching, midway, school tours, and scholarships. Over a million visitors from 60 counties have enjoyed the fair's 25-years of family fun.