June 17, 2024

Ridenour Inducted into Ohio Fair Managers Hall of Fame

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A lifetime of dedicated service to the Meigs County Fair was recognized at the annual Ohio Fair Managers Convention in Columbus over the weekend as James Ridenour was inducted into the associations Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame recognizes the dedication and service of those that go above and beyond for their respective county fairs. This year, there were two nominees inducted into the Hall of Fame, Bob Reidenbach of Ashland County and the late James “Jim” Ridenour of Chester, Ohio. The award was accepted on James Ridenour’s behalf by his wife of June Ridenour and son-in-law Brandon Werry.

“The many years of fair support from Jim and his family have made a lasting impact on the fair and our community. That kind of dedication/support is rare and we are honored to have Jim inducted into the OFMA Hall of Fame this year,” stated the Meigs County Fair Board.

During the weekend, Ridenour was also recognized by the Ohio Department of Agriculture with the Directors Award for Innovation and Excellence. The award states, “The Ohio Department of Agriculture hereby honors posthumously Jim Ridenour for dutifully adopting reliability, innovation, dedication, hard work, and embracing the challenge of new ideas at the Meigs County Fair. These actions maintain Ohio’s strong fair tradition while reflecting proudly on agriculture’s importance to the state.

Ridenour was a supporter of the fair for more than 50 years. He contributed to the fair, the youth, the community and was an Army veteran. He earned the recognition for his life long service to the county with the Meigs County Chamber of Commerce Community Pillar Award in 2015.

The full text of what was submitted by the Meigs County Fair and was read during the video presentation at the Ohio Fair Managers Convention in Columbus, Ohio on Jan. 9, 2022. Additional photos follow the text.

James (Jim) Ridenour and his wife June have supported the fair for over 50 years. Jim first participated at the fair when we celebrated out 100th anniversary and he had continued through the 157th in 2020. He faithfully sat up his company’s booth in the commercial building every year and greeted fairgoers with an ornery smile and cheerful hello. This was just one of Jim’s favorite parts about the fair. He loved sitting in his booth and visit with “old friends” some that he only to see and chat with at the fair.
Jim was a proud support of the junior fair service and livestock auctions. He not only supported the fair, but supported many other events held all over Meigs County over the years. Jim and June’s dedication and their willingness to invest in the furture of the youth and our fair became evident in 2021, when a substantial gift to the fair was made to replace the aging livestock arena with the Ridenour Family Livestock Arena. While Jim’s biggest focus was the youth, he was a supporter of the entire fair. He was one of the very first day sponsors, an entertainment sponsor, supporter of the truck and tractor pulls and several other things.
Jime took a lot of pride in the fair and anyone that spoke to him quickly realized how much the fair meant to him. On sale day, he could always be found with his family sitting on the front row bidding on animals, making sure that each exhibitor walked out of the ring feeling proud of their hard work. Because of his generosity many kids were able to save for college and even their first car. His love for the fair wasn’t just one week long, if you walked into his business you see all of the photos from the animals he has purchased over the years, and there is a bunch! While Jim’s passion was the Meigs County Fair he also purchased animals at the neighboring county fairs such as Agnes and Gallia Counties.
Jim was proud of his community and believed in giving back to others. He began his service to the community by serving proudly in the United States Army from 1957 to 1959, as a SP4 E4. After serving his country his service became community focused when he and a small group of others founded the Chester Volunteer Fire Department in 1960. This is also the year he started his business Ridenour Gas Service. Over the years Jim sponsored several little league teams, school sports teams and numerous community events. Jim often shared his kindness for others privately, by anonymously helping those in need and without anyone even knowing. In 2015, Jim was awarded the Meigs County Chamber of Commerce Community Pillar Award for all of his support and dedication to the people of Meigs County. Sadly, Jim passed away in February of 2021, the Meigs County Fair is privileged to have James L. “Jim” Ridenour and his family as supporters and we are honored that he is being inducted into the Ohio Fairs Hall of Fame posthumously. The Ohio Fair Managers Association is proud to induct Jim Ridenour, posthumously, for the support to the Meigs County Fair, Ohio Fairs Industry, and service to our country, community into the Ohio Fairs Hall of Fame Class of 2022.