Indoor arena project advances

by jennifer butler

With three new members on the Big Horn County Fair Board, there appears to be confusion and disagreement about whether or not the plans for the indoor arena should progress.

At the regular meeting Monday, Feb. 13 previous board members, Alfred Anderson, Mitch Shelhamer and William Bridges were in the audience to discuss the arena. While on the board Anderson, Shelhamer, Bridges and current board members Matty Moody and Karen Sylvester moved to apply for a Daniels Fund grant that would fund the beginning stages of the indoor arena for the Big Horn County Fairgrounds. This past month current and previous board members met with Big Horn County Grants Writer Maria Eastman to discuss the process and what needs to be down to complete this project.

After the meeting with Eastman, board chairman Felix Carrizales said he was concerned about whether the project could be completed and completed successfully. He said he had talked to members of the community who had also voiced their concerns about the project.

Carrizales said he was told this project was “stupid” and expensive. He added he felt rushed and did not want to get caught in something that he was not prepared for.

Board member Tim Flitner said, “It is in full motion. I am for it. It was decided by the previous board, and there is no reason why we should slow it down.”

The previous board members explained to the new board about the grant process. Anderson said the board did not need to worry about money because the funds would come.

Carrizales made a motion to put the arena on hold until further information could be gathered. The motion died for lack of a second. Carrizales, contacted later, said he “stands firm” in his decision. He added he would like to see the funds go into repairs instead of purchasing new.

Other business

In other business Monday:

•Flitner moved to eliminate the bareback class and the versatile contest during fair. Flitner said “we are holding kids hostage” because of how many classes the fair has. Flitner said all the classes should be finished by 5 or 6 p.m.

•County Operations Manager Fred Werner said he has filled the position for fair maintenance. He said the position will work under Werner’s supervision.

•The board is planning a volunteer day in March that will help beautify the fairgrounds.

•The fair theme was selected during Monday night’s meeting. Last month the board decided to hold a contest for members of the community to enter what they think the fair theme should be. The board had several entries including “There is country in the air at the BHC Fair” and “a country fair with a Wyoming flair”. They agreed to “Barn in the U.S.A.,” a play off the Bruce Springsteen song, “Born in the U.S.A.”

•Carrizales said he wants the community to voice their positive suggestions to the fair board through letter, email or meeting attendance. He added if sending a letter please include name and address. Carrizales said the community can send letters to his personal mailing address, P.O. Box 204, Burlington, WY 82411 or to the fair office P.O. Box 709, Basin, WY 82410.