Glenn Carlton, executive director of the North Texas Fair and Rodeo, is so revered throughout the state that a major competitor nominated him for the Professional of the Year award from the Texas Association of Fairs and Events.
The fact that the president and CEO of the Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo in Waco was the person to nominate Carlton shows how deserving he is, said Carl Anderson, president of the North Texas Fair and Rodeo.
Carlton was named the winner and received the award at the association’s convention last weekend in San Antonio. The North Texas Fair and Rodeo also won the top award for marketing.
“There are people who have been in the fair business for 50 years and never win that award, so it’s a huge honor for him and it’s a huge honor for us out there,” Anderson said. “The whole thing about Glenn is that he lives, breathes and eats this — he lives for this job. You couldn’t meet anyone in America who is made more for their job than Glenn is.”
Anderson and others from the fair and rodeo kept the award a secret from Carlton after some organization members heard he was a top contender. Carlton was caught off guard during the convention.
“I was very surprised — I had no idea,” he said. “I’m very honored because there are some outstanding fair managers out there statewide.”
The timing for the award coincided with the most successful fair to date, Anderson said. Because of good weather and event improvements, attendance was up 20 percent from the previous year with more than 150,000 people coming to Denton for the nine-day fair in August.
The fair placed in the top three of 11 categories in marketing materials, earning it the top spot overall for the marketing plan. Awards included four first-place awards, four second-place awards and four third-place awards.
Sweeping awards in the marketing competition is somewhat new for the North Texas Fair and Rodeo, Carlton said.
“The best overall is something we used to never even get close to, but we’ve really stepped it up and have won four out of the past five years,” he said.
The fair only has two full-time employees, Carlton and his executive assistant, Nanci Kimmey, while other fairs have entire marketing departments. This is what makes earning this level of recognition so gratifying, Anderson said.
“We have over 300 volunteers, but we only have two actually full-time employed,” he said. “For them to be able to do what they do is incredible.”
Both Anderson and Carlton said they are excited to share the awards at the annual membership meeting on Tuesday.
“Our members and volunteers get so excited when we announce how we did,” Carlton said. “They want us to be successful, and it’s always a good thing to include that in our annual meeting.”
JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.