A family affair at the Clay County Fair
There has been a family presence associated with the Clay County Fair over the past 65 years as a grandfather, father and son have all taken their turn patrolling the grounds.
The men in the Shatto family, including Roy, Larry and Brent have provided security service to the annual event held in Spencer.
Brent also noted other family members have worked the fair through the years as wel in various capacities.
Grandfather Roy joined the fair police in 1943 and served until his untimely death in 1976.
Father Larry also served with the fair police. He began this duty in 1976 and continued until his untimely death in 1993.
Brent, who is the captain of the Estherville Police Department, joined forces with the Clay County Fair Security in 1994 and continues this work today.
His duty is the horseback division. He and 13 other security employees park cars on horseback. “My division is responsible for parking cars in the Clay County Fair free lot north of the grounds.”
Shatto said his grandfather was a lieutenant for the fair police and worked fairgrounds security. “My dad Larry was involved with the horseback division of the fair police.”
The original parking area was on the grounds. In later years, it was moved to the grassy area north of the fairgrounds.
While the duty of parking cars on horseback begins each fair day at 7 in the morning, Shatto was quick to point out that the day actually starts earlier for his detail.
“We have to do chores, feed the horses and feed ourselves.”
Once the lot is filled to capacity with vehicles, parking lot security switches over to men in vehicles.
Shatto said he definitely does not do this job for the pay. “It’s family tradition, and it’s the one time a year to see friends on the security detail. For many of us, this is the only time we have to spend together.”