Copper Country Spotlight: Rick Freeman

Q: Where are you from?

A: East Tawas, Michigan.

Q: When did you come to the Copper Country?

A: In 1970. I worked at the Air Force radar station on Mount Horace Greeley.

Q: How long have you owned Northwoods Sporting Goods on Quincy Street in Hancock?

A: For 28 years, in the same location.

Q: How long have you been involved with the Houghton County Fair?

A: About 20 years. Right now, I’m vice president of the fair board.

Q: Over the years, has the fair gotten larger, smaller or stayed the same?

A: It’s grown over the years. I guess to physically grow, we’re kind of maxed out there (at the Houghton County Arena and grounds). We try to keep changing things around to keep people’s interest.

Q: How do the fair board members decide what rides and acts to bring to the fair?

A: We attend the Michigan state fair convention each year in January in Grand Rapids. We see a lot of acts down there. A lot of them, we can’t financially touch. We talk to different vendors down there. We talk to them about possibly coming to our fair. A lot of stuff is done almost two years out, now, to be able to get things.

Q: Over the years, what kinds of acts have come to the fair?

A: We’ve had magicians. We’ve had roving entertainment that has a lot to do with children. This year we’re going to have Whispering Pines Zoo back, which is a big hit. He’s going to have a bird sanctuary. You’ll be able to walk through this enclosure with birds flying around. That will be in the ballpark across from the arena. We have a new carnival, called Spectrum Entertainment. The motocross Thursday night is very popular. That’s been built up to a hundred riders plus, in different categories. That same night is the queen contest. So far, we have seven candidates. Also popular are the Monster Trucks, which run Saturday night, and the demolition derby, which runs Sunday afternoon.

Q: How many vendors do you have for the arena?

A: It’s going to be full again.

Q: Will the livestock show be happening again?

A: Yes. The kids raise the animals. They show them and they’re judged, and then they go to auction. The kids generally realize quite a bit of money. They use it kind of like a college fund.

Q: How is the fair doing financially?

A: Very well.