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Racehorse Barn 21
General information
Location Wayne County Fairgrounds
Town or city Wooster, Ohio
Country United States
Completed 1939

Comprehensive History

Racehorse Barn 21 was built in 1939 at a cost of $2,000. It is used to house harness horse racing horses during the week of the Fair and the rest of the year is rented to local racehorse trainers. The first race stable to operate out of the barn was that of Jess Brinkerhoff.


  • Wayne County Agricultural Society


  • Jess Brinkerhoff Stable
  • Ed Rickabaugh Stable
  • John Hague Stable
  • Ron Wagner Stable


  • 1939 Constructed


Newspaper articles

Newspaper full-text articles

Fire Threatens Fair Ground Horse Barns

Fire Threatens Fair Ground Horse Barns. Daily Record, Wooster, Ohio. 1950 September 9, p.1.

Fire which threatened devastation at the Wayne county Fair grounds early today damaged the main race horse barn, where six head of horses were stabled, before it was brought under control by the Wooster fire department.

The blaze started in an outside toilet located between the two race horse barns, and only some 50 feet from the rear of the trailer home of O. D. Harpster, well known horseman.

The farm toilet building was consumed, and when firemen arrived the flames had spread to the rear part of the roof of the race horse barn, and was burning fiercely along the side of the building.

About a fourth of one side of the roof will have to be replaced, and a considerable amount of hay overhead was ruined by smoke and fire.

County Commissioners M. C. Ebright and Dan Buchwalter visited the scene of the fire this morning, and with Fair Secretary Walter J. Buss arranged to have a temporary roof put on the part of the building which was damaged, so the barn can be used during next week's fair. Later the siding will be replaced. The loss, covered by insurance, was expected to be somewhere in the vicinity of $1,000. The fire was first discovered by an attendant at the Gulf Service Station on Route 30, who called firemen.

Harpster was awakened to find his trailer as light as day from the nearby flames, and when he found where the fire was located he, too, ran to the Gulf station to give the alarm. By that time firemen were on their way. Johnny James, a horseman, asleep in the office in the race horse barn, continued to sleep until the doors were opened to remove the trapped horses. James said that when he entered the office at midnight to go to bed, he smelled smoke as he approached the building, but detected no sign of fire.

When E. A. Rickabaugh reached the scene from his home, he found that five of the six head of horses in the barn had been removed. In the rush to get them out before the barn filled with smoke, one was overlooked. The horse, however, came through unharmed, but received a thorough drenching.

Three of the horses, including the one which withstood the fire, were being trained by Rickabaugh. The other three had arrived last night for the fair races, and had been stabled in hte barn less than 12 hours when the fire broke out. They are the property of Forest Cone, of Painesville.

Timbers in the upper part of the barn were seared, and the cupola on the barn was charred by heat. Fire Chief Lloyd Eberhart said no flames reached the cupola.

Several nice shade trees standing between the two race horse barns were badly seared by the flames.

Almost complete absence of wind probably saved the blaze from becoming a conflagration.

Most of the race horses coming for the fair were not on hand when the fire broke out, but will arrive over the weekend.

Horsemen remarked this morning that this is the first time the fair has been started by fireworks. [1]

Horse Barn Gets a Facelift

One of the oldest barns on the grounds got a much needed facelift.

The Wayne County Fair Board recently hired a crew of Amish workers to put siding on the horse barn at the west end of the grandstand.

"We started the project last year and finished it this year," said Fair Board Secretary Pete Armstrong. "it's one of the oldest barns on the fairgrounds."

Veteran horse trainer Ron Wagner said the work was completed last week and it looks pretty good.

Wagner said the building is more than 80 years old and he is only the fourth trainer to be housed there.

"I've been here 40 years and I'm the fourth person to train out here," Wagner said. He listed the other trainers that included John Hague, Ed Rickabaugh and Jess Brinkerhoff.

He said there are 15 stalls in the barn but there are currently only four horses. There will be more for the fair.

"Other guys who train out of the cattle barns come over here and stay here when they get pushed out for the fair," he said.

Wagner said the building had a fire quite a few years ago that explains why the roof is two different colors.

"You can see where they replaced the roof with plywood," he said.

Armstrong says they had to open the top of another barn to create some light.

"As you can see, it's still pretty dark in here. It's not too well lit," he said. "We had storage for hay and straw above the stalls, but we opened up the top some light can come through.

Reporter Kevin Lynch can be reached at 330-674-5676 or [2]


  1. Daily Record, Wooster, Ohio. 1950 September 9, p.1.
  2. Horse barn gets a facelift. Kevin Lynch. Daily Record, Wooster, Ohio. 2016 September 4, p.0.