Getting a good ice cream cone at this year’s fair is and isn’t a ‘tall order’

Marlys Barker, Nevada Journal Editor
Claire Hall, a Story County horse superintendent, and Kylene Harold, a member of the Story County Hippology Team, pose in the fairgrounds location, between the rabbit barn and the horse barn, where a 21-foot ice cream cone stand, Sky Kone Ice Cream, will set up shop during this year’s Story County Fair. Part of its sales will be given back to the Story County Horse Project group for teams that will compete at Nationals in Colorado during the coming winter. Photo by Marlys Barker

Story County Horse Superintendent Claire Hall can’t hide her enthusiasm for what is coming to this year’s Story County Fair.

“We have a 21-foot ice cream cone coming,” she said.

Sky Kone, out of Ackley, will bring one of its ice cream cone stands to the Story County Fair for the first time this year, to sell to fairgoers and to help raise funds for the Story County Horse Project.

“That’s what’s even more exciting,” Hall said, “that he is going to help us raise funds to send our horse quiz bowl team and hippology team to compete in Denver at the Nationals in January (2019).”

The “he” Hall is referring to is Jeff Kurth, owner of Sky Kone.

Hall met him when she and her husband were in Ackley over a year ago. He had one of his Sky Kone stands there in town, and they got to talking. Hall said she wanted to bring him to the 2017 Story County Fair, but he was totally booked. So, she got on his list for 2018.

Kurth said he’s never brought one of his stands, shaped like a cone, to Story County before, so he’s really excited to bring the joy of ice cream to kids during this year’s fair.

Hall said she’s very impressed, not only with the super tall ice cream stands that Kurth has created and traveled with for four years now, but with the fact that Kurth uses part of his profits to do great things for youth.

Kurth said his full story is available on his website,, but Sky Kone started as an idea he had of making an ice cream stand that people could actually see. “I wanted one big enough to serve ice cream out of … (and) when you saw it from blocks away, the cone needed to self-advertise and scream ‘ice cream,’” he shared in his story online.

The idea of his “cone” creation kept growing in his mind and finally began with the construction of the first top component, completed in November of 2012. The bottom part of a cone station came next, being completed in June 2013.

A personal tragedy for Kurth then led to a delay in further progress. Out of nowhere, he said, he was diagnosed with incurable lung disease. “I was given less than a year to live. The only cure was a lung transplant.”

In December 2013, he got a great life-saving gift — a single lung. Looking back, he said his faith, his family and the dream of that ice cream cone stand are what kept him going, so he now lives with a motto: “Keep going. Dreams can be real.”

And helping donate to others’ dreams is what Kurth will be doing at the Story County Fair. He’s going to donate a percentage of his profits, Hall said, to help eight Story County kids make it to Nationals. Those kids are hippology team members Kylene Harold, Jordan Rydl and Bianca Sponseller; and quiz bowl team members Claira Miller, Lindsey Donnelly, Brody Bents and Katherine Hawley. These youth will be competing with all the best of the best in states that lie west of the Mississippi River.

The total fundraising goal for the kids is $13,000, which will help pay for things like airfare, lodging and meals. The Story County Horse Project, Hall said, is also applying for grants and doing other things to raise funds.

Hall, who co-directs the Story County Horse Project with Deanna Collins, said the plan is for Sky Kone to be at the fair all five fair days, and to be located between the horse barn and the rabbit barn.

You aren’t sure where that is?

Don’t worry, Sky Kone should be very visible — with its fiberglass top that screams “ice cream.”