Board approves bid for beer gardens

by karla pomeroy

The Big Horn County Fair Board received two bids to operate the beer gardens this year and approved a combined bid from Roger Williams of Stockman’s in Basin and Doug and Denny Freier of the Smokehouse in Greybull.

The other bid was from the Silver Spur.

Doug Freier said the bid was to operate the regular beer gardens near the arena plus a small roped off area near the horseshoe pits during the tournament on Saturday.

He said when they bought the Stockman’s in 2004 they provided the alcohol for the beer gardens. After a few years he wanted more control since it was his license being used but the fair board opted to take over at that time. He said they have operated beer gardens for other events on the fairgrounds including ranch rodeos and the bull bash.

He said they run it just like they do their bar. Freier said Williams, who is leasing the Stockman’s from the Freiers, and them agreed to make a combined bid so they could share the employees and expenses. The businesses would handle purchase of the beer, obtaining the proper town permits including four catering permits and a vendor license. They would provide the glasses, security and employees but would like the fair to provide a heavy canopy to provide shade, as well as tables and chairs.

Initially the Freiers and Williams offered 10 percent of sale profits to the fair board. “This is new for us. If it turns out well we’d share the wealth but I’ve gotten burned before when events get rained out,” Freier said.

Board member Tim Flitner said that Treasurer Casey Sorenson, who was not in attendance, had recommended a flat fee of between $3,500 to $5,000. He said he would love a flat fee but doesn’t want the business to get hurt and not return to the fair.

He added, “I’d love to get out from under this and let the professionals handle it. I like the revenue and don’t want to give that up but on the other hand we’re in the business of putting on a fair not a bar.”

The Freiers and Williams then adjusted their bid to 15 percent below $10,000 and 25 percent above $10,000. The motion to approve that proposal was approved unanimously.

Carrizales said the board is setting the policy of only those over the age of 21 will be allowed in the beer garden area. During grandstand events, beer will be allowed in the roped off area in the grandstands where those under 21 can also be. Beer will not be allowed to be taken from the beer gardens once the grandstand event is over and will not be allowed anywhere else on the grounds.

Prior to the regular meeting the board met with the Basin Police Department and Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office to discuss security and enforcement at the upcoming Big Horn County Fair in August.