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'It's something that makes me smile:' GSP Trooper shares memory of his dad at Georgia National Fair

For many Central Georgia families, spending time at the fair is a cherished tradition.

PERRY, Ga. — Kevin Pope, a Georgia State Trooper, says he got his need for speed at a young age.

"My dad he would always get on the rides with us because mom wasn't fond of them, getting on the roller coasters or the ones that spin you around," Pope said. 

He remembers riding those rides with his dad. 

"I remember him riding the Gravitron with us and when we'd get off of one, sure enough he would get back on it if me or my brother wanted to ride it," Pope said. 

Pope's two boys also love the fair, especially his one son Kaleb. 

"He's a little daredevil. He loved going out and having fun, but having his papa there holding onto him made him more comfortable," Pope said.

Credit: wmaz

This photo snapped last year shows Kevin's dad, Henry, holding onto Kaleb. Pope says it's a family tradition.

"We went to Disney World last year. We rode the rides and I did the same thing with my son, not even thinking about it until after it was over," Pope said. 

This year, when Pope and his family head to the fair, they'll be missing a crucial person. His dad passed away unexpectedly in September, a week after Pope's daughter was born.

"It's tough knowing there's so much more left in life, I was hoping he'd be there for [it]," Pope said.

Pope says this year's fair will be bittersweet. He's holding onto the photo and the memories behind it, while he'll have to be the one to hold onto his kids in his dad's place.

"Especially that he's gone, it's something that makes me smile. I'm turning into my dad," Pope said.

He says his dad wasn't just about riding rides with his grandkids. He would have been scoping out the vintage cars as well.

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