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Fair and football

It’s a football Friday and the opening day of the Cabarrus County Fair. Tonight, Friday, Sept. 6, you can take your ticket stuff from any Cabarrus high school football game and get free admission to the fair.

Game night

Central Cabarrus at Mount Pleasant on YouTube Live Also on radio WEGO 98.3 FM, 1410 AM,

Monroe at Jay M. Robinson on NFHS Network

Sun Valley at Concord on NFHS Network

Northwest Cabarrus at Jesse Carson

Cox Mill at West Rowan on WSAT 103.3 FM, 1280 AM,

Cabarrus Warriors at Christ School

The Independent Tribune has previews of each of these games.

Fast Facts on the Fair

A blue ribbon winning watermelon from the 2018 Cabarrus County Fair.

Cabarrus County Fair Facts

Dates: September 6 to 14, 2019

Location: Cabarrus Arena and Events Center (4751 NC-49, Concord)

2019 Fair hours: Weekdays, 4 to 10 p.m.; Fridays, 4 to 11 p.m.; Saturdays, 1 to 11 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 10 p.m.

2019 Fair Theme: Fairly Extraordinary (logo available upon request)

Fair website:

Fair Facebook:

Fair Twitter: @cabarrusfair

2019 Gate specials (rides not included):

·         Saturday, September 7 – Opening Celebration
Free general gate admission for all from 1 to 2 p.m.

·         Sunday, September 8 – Cooperative Christian Ministries Canned Food Drive
Free general gate admission for all from 1 to 3 p.m. with four canned food items per adult and two canned food items per child. All food brands are accepted.

·         Monday, September 9 – Discount Night

$20 ride wristband ($5 savings); $3 general gate admission for ages 6 to 11 ($2 savings); $5 general gate admission for ages 12 and older ($3 savings).

·         Tuesday, September 10 – Family Fun Night
$4 general gate admission for all.

·         Thursday, September 11 – Salute to Seniors Night
FREE general gate admission for ages 55 and older from 4 to 6 p.m.

·         Catch the Fair for FREE on Fridays
Get FREE general gate admission with your high school football game ticket stub on Friday, September 6 and Friday, September 13.

Onsite ticket prices: General gate admission to the fair is $8 for ages 12 to 54; $5 for ages 55+ and those with military ID; and $5 for ages 6 to 11. Ages 5 and younger admitted free. Parking is free. All transactions at the Fair are cash only. ATMs are located at the main gate and throughout the midway, but do carry a surcharge.No re-entry, refunds, rainchecks or exchanges.

Ride ticket information: Ride tickets are available for purchase inside the fairgrounds at Powers Midway ticket booths. One strip of four tickets is $5 and one sheet of 22 tickets is $20. Ride wristbands ($25) allow unlimited mechanical ride access for one day (Air Raid not included). Children under 36 inches can ride the Merry Go Round, Fun Slide and Kiddie Wheel for free with a paying adult (16 years and older).

Shuttle service: Cabarrus County Transportation Service (CCTS) provides complimentary parking lot shuttle van service for the satellite lots on the weekends. CCTS vans run the following hours:

Saturday, September 7, noon to midnight

Sunday, September 8, noon to midnight

Friday, September 13, 6 p.m. to midnight

Saturday, September 14, noon to midnight

Entertainment: There’s plenty of Fair just beyond the midway. The Cabarrus County Fair features a butterfly encounter, petting zoo, livestock displays, sand castle carving, milking booth and educational exhibits. New this year is the Ninja Experience, a team of martial arts experts that wow audiences with high to flying, jaw-dropping performances. Returning fan-favorites include live performances by Mountain Mike chainsaw creations, Robinson’s Racing Pigs, Rust and Flame Blacksmithing and Rockstar Karaoke. Watch live demonstrations from local beekeepers, Master Gardeners and wood turners. Stop by the open forge fire for sustainable living demonstrations and view local farm equipment on display.

See for entertainment details, which are subject to change.

Country 103.7 Outside Stage performances:

Friday, September 6: 2019 Fair Pageant 7 p.m.; Live music 8:30 to 10 p.m.

Saturday, September 7: Live music 7:30 to 10 p.m.

Sunday, September 8: Rockstar Karaoke 4:30 to 6 p.m. and 7 to 9:30 p.m.

Monday, September 9: Live music 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Tuesday, September 10: Cooking demo 6 p.m.; Live music 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday, September 11: Live music 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Thursday, September 12: Live music 7:30 to 9 p.m.

Friday, September 13: Live music 7 to 9 p.m.

Saturday, September 14: Rockstar Karaoke 4:30 to 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Background: The Cabarrus County Agricultural Fair began in 1953. The 2018 Cabarrus County Fair received 16 awards form the International Association of Agricultural Fairs and Expos (IAFE) and three awards from the North Carolina Association of Agricultural Fairs. For more information visit or follow

Football is back

Radio Free Cabarrus/485 Sports is broadcasting two games on opening night, Friday, August 23. Kickoffs are set for 7:30 p.m. The games are being broadcast on the NFHS Network.

Jay M. Robinson at Mount Pleasant

Hickory Ridge at Central Cabarrus

Other games:

Northwest Cabarrus at Forestview

Cox Mill at Lake Norman

Concord at Pinecrest

Cabarrus Warriors at High Point Christian

Who will win the SPC?

This is the first of the preseason polls from Radio Free Cabarrus/485 Sports. First up is the South Piedmont Conference, where Northwest Cabarrus is reigning champ.

The polling among our broadcasters and reporters was very close with the top spot split between Northwest Cabarrus and A.L. Brown but the Trojans get the call based on points awarded (6 for first and descending to 1 for sixth place).

So if our predictions are accurate, the South Piedmont Conference could come down to the “Battle for Kannapolis.” Circle your Friday nights in October: Oct. 11, Central Cabarrus at A.L. Brown; Oct. 18, Northwest Cabarrus at Central Cabarrus; and Oct. 25, A.L. Brown at Northwest Cabarrus.

It should be fun. And of course we expect some surprises. Radio Free Cabarrus/485 Sports will be broadcasting lots of games again this year on the NFHS Network. This year many of the school’s booster clubs will be doing fundraisers through NFHS Network broadcasts. Contact your school’s boosters club to find out how you can help.

Who do you think will win the SPC?

View Results

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Here are some of the comments from RFC broadcasters about their predictions:

Perry Gabriel

Three teams have a legitimate shot at winning the SPC title this season.  Northwest Cabarrus and AL Brown are my favorites but don’t count Central Cabarrus out. 

Northwest will try to prove that last season was not a fluke and continue to look to establish itself as a top program in the always strong conference.  Another championship run this year could be the start of good things to continue for that program. 

The A.L. Brown Wonders will be looking to rebound and get back to championship form and this could be the year. You can never count a Mike Newsome coached team out so look for the Wonders to make some noise – they have some payback on their mind with some county foes to regain some bragging rights.  If you own the bragging rights in the county then you own the SPC title as well. 

Central Cabarrus can make a difference in the race but they will need more consistency to make it happen.  All 3 of the top teams cannot afford a setback at the hands of the other conference teams as Cox Mill could be the sleeper again this year. 

Concord and JM Robinson will battle it out for the bottom two spots with the winner of that game probably avoiding the final spot in the standings.  Both teams are improved but not at the level of the other teams in the conference.

Chris Hudson

I think A.L. Brown will be very strong this year, but Northwest returns probably the best core of players. The Vikings will return a strong core of players and could be better than both Northwest and AL Brown. I think the Concord Spiders will surprise a lot of people and be tons better than last year’s team and by end of the season could earn a playoff spot. I think the Robinson Bulldogs will be slightly down this year but will still be a good team.

Spencer Ball

The Trojans have star players, Tyrese Blake and Nick Wilds-Lawing, returning which should help keep them atop the conference. The Vikings also have many returning players which will keep them in the running towards the top of the conference. 
Cox Mill lost a lot of strong seniors but former junior varsity players will look to fill their shoes and should keep them in the middle of the pack.

Concord struggled mightily last season but with a strong Junior Varsity team and more understanding of Coach Paxton’s systems should help propel the Spiders to a better record than 1-10. A.L. Brown could be a surprise team with returning seniors and a strong Junior Varsity team but with the top three teams looking very strong it will be difficult to find conference wins. Jay M. Robinson has a lot of problems to fix but they did show some bright spots with young players making big plays throughout the season.

Mark Plemmons

The Wonders likely fueled their offseason with memories of losses to Northwest and Central Cabarrus and feel like they’re due some payback. The new turf at Memorial Stadium should be beneficial to always speedy Wonders.

The Trojans and Vikings both return strong teams and should make it a real battle for the top. College coaches have been very interested in players for all three teams.

One question in my mind is whether the Vikings can avoid the late season decline that has plagued the team for the past few years. Injuries no doubt have played a major factor.

The Bulldogs and Chargers both have a few big holes to fill and if they find the right pieces could content for upper half of the SPC. Can Robinson find a consistent offense? Can the Chargers continue their outstanding defense after major graduations along the defensive line?

The Spiders are the great unknown. Marty Paxton’s squad showed improvement at the end of the season, but just how much progress did they make in the off season. The SPC is a tough league to make up ground and the Spiders could make great strides and still be in last place.

Check back next week for our Rocky River Conference predictions.

Cabarrus Fair Pageant seeking contestants

The 14th annual Cabarrus County Fair Pageant will be held on Friday, Sept. 6, at 7 p.m. at the New 103.7 Outside Stage at the Cabarrus County Fairgrounds. 

This is a natural, sundress pageant and four winners will be crowned out of 1st through 12th grade girls. The four winners will receive a crown, sash, trophy, and four fair tickets.

These new winners will also get to participate in the Cabarrus County Fair Ribbon Cutting Ceremony the next day at 12:45 p.m.

The new Queens will make various appearances representing their titles throughout the community and they and the runner ups will be able to ride on the Cabarrus County Fair Float in the Concord Christmas Parade. All contestants will receive an item of recognition. 

Judging is based on the contestant’s on-stage introduction about their community service involvement and also on their stage presence and personality.

The deadline to enter is noon on Wednesday, Aug. 21st. For more information and application, go to 

Last year’s Cabarrus County Fair Pageant winners pose in front of the midway. The pageant is seeking contestants for this year’s event. From Cabarrus County Fair Pageant

The pageant is directed by Susan Watkins and Adriane Watkins Miley.

Coming in September. Make plans now.

RFC SPC football poll is coming

Our broadcasters have voted and we will be releasing our South Piedmont Conference preseason football poll this week. Check our where we rank your favorite SPC team.

VIDEOS: New AD at Cox Mill and Talking Tennis

Davanzo moves over from Mallard Creek

Meet Philip Davanzo, the Cox Mill Athletic Director

Opportunities to play and learn

Talking Tennis with “The Ambassador of Cabarrus Tennis”

Cox Mill’s new AD

Interview Cox Mill AD Philip Davanzo

Independent Tribune story about Davanzo joining #MillMentality

Greiner out, Jupiter Wilson in as Hickory Ridge football coach

new hickory ridge coach pdf

Randy Greiner resigned as the Hickory Ridge Ragin’ Bulls football coach last week and assistant coach Jupiter Wilson has been named as his replacement.

Hickory Ridge in Harrisburg will have a parents meeting Tuesday, June 4, at the school at 7 p.m. and a meet and greet with Wilson afterwards.


A Tip of the Hat to a Better Man Than Me

Coach Jody Barbee

By Coach Jay Alverson

On Saturday March 9th 2019 I was trying to talk with Jay’den Turner of Southwest Guilford about NCHSAA Men’s 3A Western Region Basketball finals that had just end when one of the league officials interrupted us and directed me to finish the interview down in the postgame press conference.  And that is how I ended up sitting in my first ever press conference. 

Not one to ever be mistaken as shy, and a firm believer in the “fake it until you make it” approach to new jobs, I fired off a single question to Cox Mill’s head coach Jodie Barbee, which happened to be the first words I had ever spoken to the coach I had heard so many rave about since I moved here three years ago.  I asked something related to the quality of his JV program and how he thought next year would be.  As he took his next breath, I recognized by the way his eyes puffed up, how he drew a deep but unsteady breath and how he avoided eye contact for just a moment that he was stepping down. How did I know this? Because I have had to do it three times myself.

As he began to speak, I attempted to nod my head in a reassuring manor. Hoping to offer some level of comfort coach to coach. I knew the pain he was feeling and I knew how hard it is to publicly acknowledge that he was walking away from the Juniors, Sophomores and Freshmen that had bought into his program and his vision.  The first time I ever “donned the visor and headset” my team won the District 10 (Northern California) championship. I left for Virginia the next day. After leading Woodrow Wilson’s (Portsmouth VA) JV team to a 9-1 season and helping a record 18 out of 22 varsity seniors find scholarships to play at the next level I gathered my kids around and told them I was moving to Charlotte NC. I did it again to my players in 2017 after an 100% administration change over at Cabarrus County’s Christ the King Catholic High School meant a different vision and priorities for the program I had started. By stepping down I knew I was letting down the Juniors and Sophomores who had taken beatings, suffered humiliating defeats and but experienced the thrill of the program’s first two wins because they believed in what I was telling them.

As coaches we love our players as if they are our own. I have told every group of players that I have coached since my first daughter was born in 2002 that they are the sons I will never have. That they were/are my legacy so I knew the pain Coach Barbee had to have felt as the delivered the news to his team in the locker room before coming into face the press.

The first time I ever “donned the visor and headset” my team won the District 10 (Northern California) championship. I had stepped into a job in Virginia that everyone told me was a losing venture and gone 9-1 and I had failed myself, players and parents at Christ the King.

Then the two-time defending state champion explained that he had made his decision because he wanted to spend more time with his family and friends and that he wanted to have a chance to watch his son play. I instantly felt a common bond with the man I had never spoken to before.

Barbee explained that he wanted to do something that could not happen if he continued to coach at a school different from the one his son played at. He told us that his son had decided not to transfer out of loyalty to his own teammates. The Coach in Barbee respected that but the father in him was proud of that.  He talked about how it was a difficult call but the right decision. I wanted to stop the press conference and tell him that he had said the wrong thing. What he had meant to say is that he didn’t want to retire and look back and realize that for all the things he had accomplished as a coach he had failed the ultimate test, the test of fatherhood.

How do I know that’s what he really wanted to say? Because I failed that very same test. Prior to going into coaching full time, I spent 21+ years in the military.  5 years and 8 months as a US Marine and the remainder as an Intelligence Specialist in the US Air Force.  My DD214 (the official separation paperwork where your career is reduced to a single piece of paper) had an impressive listing of some 24 medals. The write-ups for these make me out to be some kind of comic book hero. They talk about “valor in the face of imminent danger” and “immeasurable contributions to improving international relations.” My shadow box is filled with mementos that tell a story of a decorated leader who supposedly cared about the welfare of his men “above the call of duty” and led the Air Force’s 480th Intelligence Wing (the USAF’s largest wing at the time) through the repeal of don’t ask don’t tell “with dignity and compassion never before experienced by those who were affected most.” My evaluations tell the story of an innovator, an experimenter and “fearless leader who galvanized the fighting will of hundreds.”  But it’s what they don’t tell that, looking back, matters the most.

They don’t tell the story of a father who missed 9 birthdays, 4 Christmases and countless firsts. Including my youngest daughter’s first birthday, first steps, first words, first day of school and my oldest daughter’s first tooth, first dance, first nightmare.  They don’t tell the story of a husband who was half a world away while his wife fought incompetent doctors as their infant daughter fought for her life. They don’t tell of the man who was on a plane while a surgeon cut open his baby girl in a touch and go surgery.  They don’t tell of the father and husband who was out listening to music and having dinner with pals in Korea while his wife sat in an ICU room listening to a machine breath for that same daughter.

That’s why I instantly respected the Coach who many will question.  He will be there for his son’s senior night.  I won’t be there for my oldest daughter’s. He will be there to celebrate the wins and provide comfort after the losses. He put his family ahead of himself. His wife will be able to reach out and find his hand to hold when their son has his big moment and they as a family will shed some tears when his time on the court or field is done.

Sometimes life presents you with choices and its hard to decide which one is the right one. Sometimes life gives you opportunities to be more than you are. Sometimes the answers are easy other times they aren’t.  But if your faith is strong enough, your heart is open enough, your mind is focused enough and you are man enough you will make the right call. Coach Barbee did this on a cold and rainy afternoon in Hickory. And that’s why he is a much better man than I.

Jay Alverson

Jay Alverson is a veteran, a football coach at Victory Christian and a broadcaster with Radio Free Cabarrus/485 Sports.

Regional Finals

Todd Maulden/Special to the Independent Tribune

Radio Free Cabarrus/485 Sports is producing all eight Western Regional NCHSAA basketball finals from Hickory today, March 9. Good luck to all the teams. We’re looking for some exciting basketball.

2019 Basketball Regional Finals Live Broadcasts

NFHS Network links directly to game broadcast feed. Subscription Required

Men’s 1A East – #1 Washington County vs. #2 Henderson Collegiate – 4:00 p.m.

NFHS Network – Live Internet Video Stream –

WIZS Radio – Audio-Only/Radio – 100.1 FM, Henderson &

Men’s 1A West – #3 North Rowan vs. #9 Bishop McGuinness – 6:00 p.m.

NFHS Network – Live Internet Video Stream –

Bishop McGuinness Athletics Radio – Audio-Only/Radio (Ed-Rate) – Bishop McGuinness Mixlr

Women’s 1A East – #1 Pamlico County vs. #2 East Carteret – 2:00 p.m.

NFHS Network – Live Internet Video Stream –

Women’s 1A West – #1 East Surry vs. #3 Murphy – 2:00 p.m.

NFHS Network – Live Internet Video Stream –

WIFM Radio – Audio-Only/Radio – 100.9 FM, Elkin &

Men’s 2A East – #1 Farmville Central vs. #2 Greene Central – 2:00 p.m.

NFHS Network – Live Internet Video Stream –

Men’s 2A West – #1 East Lincoln vs. #2 Forest Hills – 12:00 p.m.

NFHS Network – Live Internet Video Stream –

KTC Broadcasting – Audio-Only/Radio – 107.5 FM, Lincolnton &

Women’s 2A East – #1 Farmville Central vs. #3 Kinston – 12:00 p.m.

NFHS Network – Live Internet Video Stream –

Women’s 2A West – #1 Mountain Heritage vs. #3 Forbush – 4:00 p.m.

NFHS Network – Live Internet Video Stream –

Welcome To The Pit Media – Audio-Only/Radio – Welcome To the Pit Facebook

WIFM Radio – Audio-Only/Radio – 100.9 FM, Elkin &

WKYK Radio – Audio-Only/Radio – 940 AM, Burnsville &

Men’s 3A East – #3 Eastern Alamance vs. #4 Walter M. Williams – 4:00 p.m.

NFHS Network – Live Internet Video Stream –

WBAG Radio – Audio-Only/Radio – 105.9 FM/1150 AM, Burlington &

Men’s 3A West – #1 Southwest Guilford vs. #2 Cox Mill – 12:00 p.m.

NFHS Network – Live Internet Video Stream –

Greensboro Sports Radio – Audio-Only/Radio –

Women’s 3A East – #1 E.E. Smith vs. #2 Southeast Guilford – 6:00 p.m.

NFHS Network – Live Internet Video Stream –

DK Sports – Audio-Only/Radio – 105.7 FM, Fayetteville

Greensboro Sports Radio – Audio-Only/Radio –

Women’s 3A West – #2 Freedom vs. #4 Cuthbertson – 4:00 p.m.

NFHS Network – Live Internet Video Stream –

Men’s 4A East – #1 Millbrook vs. #3 South Central – 6:00 p.m.

NFHS Network – Live Internet Video Stream –

Men’s 4A West – #6 West Charlotte vs. #9 R.J. Reynolds – 6:00 p.m.

NFHS Network – Live Internet Video Stream –

Women’s 4A East – #2 Southeast Raleigh vs. #5 Cary – 12:00 p.m.

NFHS Network – Live Internet Video Stream –

Women’s 4A West – #2 West Forsyth vs. #4 David W. Butler – 2:00 p.m.

NFHS Network – Live Internet Video Stream –

Quarter finals

Radio Free Cabarrus/485 Sports will broadcast two games tonight, Tuesday, March 5, on NFHS Network:

Freedom at Cox Mill

Ardrey Kell versus West Charlotte at Vance

Can’t make it out to the Fourth Round Games? Please enjoy the following live video streams from our partners at the NFHS Network. Subscribe for the full month for just $9.95 to enjoy all Regional Finals and State Championships for the 2019 Basketball Playoffs!

NFHS NETWORK Live Video Streams(Stream Start time in Parenthesis)

WOMEN’S 4A EAST – #2 Southeast Raleigh vs. #3 Laney – Game Link (6:00 p.m.)

MEN’S 3A WEST – #2 Cox Mill vs. #3 Freedom – Game Link (6:50 p.m.)

MEN’S 4A WEST – #6 West Charlotte vs. #7 Ardrey Kell – Game Link (6:45 p.m.)

MEN’S 4A EAST – #1 Millbrook vs. #4 Seventy-First – Game Link (7:00 p.m.)

Below is a list of approved broadcasts for the 2019 NCHSAA Basketball Playoffs Fourth Round

1A Men’s Fourth Round

#1 Washington County vs. #4 West ColumbusWest Columbus HS Athletics FB – Live Internet Video Stream (Non-NFHS Network) – WCHS Facebook

#9 Bishop McGuinness vs. #21 North StanlyBishop McGuinness Athletics Radio – Audio-Only/Radio (Ed. Rate) – BMHS Mixlr Account

2A Men’s Fourth Round

#1 East Lincoln vs. #13 East RutherfordWAGY Radio – Audio-Only/Radio – 1320 AM, RutherfordtonKTC Broadcasting – Audio-Only/Radio – 107.5 FM, Lincolnton &

#2 Forest Hills vs. #3 ShelbyKTC Broadcasting – Audio-Only/Radio – 101.5 FM, Shelby &

3A Men’s Fourth Round

#2 Northern Nash vs. #3 Eastern AlamanceFirst Media Radio – Audio-Only/Radio – 99.3 FM, Rocky Mount & Southwest Guilford vs. #4 Charlotte CatholicGreensboro Sports Radio – Audio-Only/Radio –

#2 Cox Mill vs. #3 FreedomRadio Free Cabarrus – Live Internet Video Stream (NFHS Network) –

4A Men’s Fourth Round

#1 Millbrook vs. #4 Seventy-First NFHS Network – Live Internet Video Stream (NFHS Network) – Game Link (7:00 p.m.)

#6 West Charlotte vs. #7 Ardrey KellRadio Free Cabarrus – Live Internet Video Stream (NFHS Network) –

1A Women’s Fourth Round


2A Women’s Fourth Round

#1 Mountain Heritage vs. #4 East BurkeWKYK Radio – Audio-Only/Radio – 940 AM, Burnsville &

3A Women’s Fourth Round

#1 E.E. Smith vs. #4 HillsideDK Sports – Audio-Only/Radio – 105.7 FM, Fayetteville

#2 Southeast Guilford vs. #3 JacksonvilleGreensboro Sports Radio – Audio-Only/Radio –

#4 Cuthbertson vs. #9 AsheboroSportsTone Media – Audio-Only/Radio – www.SportsTone.netWKXR Radio – Audio-Only/Radio – 94.9 FM/1260 AM, Asheboro &

4A Women’s Fourth Round

#2 Southeast Raleigh vs. #3 Laney NFHS Network – Live Internet Video Stream (NFHS Network) – Game Link (6:00 p.m.)