Fair mulls demo derby or Monster Truck rally

by karla pomeroy

Fair entertainment was the main topic of discussion at Monday’s fair board meeting including demolition derby versus Monster Truck event, free concert and prices for grandstand events.

The board was approached with a request from Security State Bank to continue to handle the ticket booth and clerk for the grandstand events, but they would like to change rates to an event $10 to avoid making change for the current $8 rate. Board member Casey Sorenson said the concern is that making change makes the lines longer at the ticket booth.

A motion to change the rates to $10 for adults and $5 for 16 and under died for lack of a second.

Andy Perkins said the Lovell rodeo rates increased from $8 to $10 this past summer and attendance was down. County 4-H Educator Gretchen Gasvoda said the same thing happened at the Cowley rodeo.

Sorenson, who made the motion, said he liked giving the youth who were at the fair the price break of $5.

The board approved changes to the carnival contract that Town & Country Shows requested. Once the contract is signed, the carnival and water park will be a feature for three years at the Big Horn County Fair.

Fair Manager Vangi Hackney said she has contacted the Monster Trucks company about bringing a small show to the county fair this year in lieu of a demolition derby. She said she doesn’t have firm pricing as the company is waiting on a decision from Lincoln County to determine if they can do a route from Billings which would result in a price reduction.

The board asked Hackney to talk to county search and rescue to see if they would be interested in running the derby as a fundraiser and to talk to the Haley family, who expressed interest in helping with the derby.

Hackney will report back on both options at the February meeting.

The board discussed whether or not to have a free concert and if so, did they want it on a Tuesday night again.

There was discussion about moving it to Monday night between the two horse shows but ultimately the board decided not to have a free evening concert.

The free stage acts will run from Wednesday through Saturday.

The board discussed where the free stage will be located. County Maintenance Supervisor Fred Werner said it would depend on where the new indoor multi-purpose facility is located. If it is located west of the current main facility the free stage can be located in the same place it has been the past few years. If the building is located south of the current facility, which is favored by Carl Nielsen and Tim Flitner, the free stage act would have to be moved. Werner said a location could be found for the free stage with a couple of options to consider.

In other business the board:

•Purchased an embosser stamp for meal tickets.

•Approved using all the same livestock judges as last year most fairs rotate every two years.

•Tentatively set the livestock sale for 6 p.m. on the Friday of the fair but moving from the Big Horn REA Arena to the show arena due to concerns of moving livestock around the construction site.

•Added western pleasure and English pleasure to open class in the horse show.

•Tabled election of officers until February when the entire board can be present. Chairman Felix Carrizales was absent.

•Set the theme for this year’s fair as “Welcome to the Future – Big Horn County Fair” and highlight the new facility with a photo of the architectural rendering on the cover. Major donors of the project will be honored on the cover.

•Heard discussion about whether to move the programmed ride to Monday. Hackney and Gasvoda recommended leaving it on the second day of the horse show but looking at adjusting some scheduling.

•Heard a request to move all open classes to the end of the horse performance show. Gasvoda said the problem with that is it requires set up twice for barrels, poles, reining and other events and this would make the show longer.

•Heard from Hackney there are a lot of changes in the rules this year as they were updated to reflect the current state fair rules. The board discussed ways to enforce the slick shorn rule for sheep. Sheep must be slick shorn at weigh-in in order to be shown and sold at the fair. A board member and the sheep superintendent will be on hand at weigh-in to make sure the rules are followed.

•Heard from Werner a recommendation to make sure the construction contract for the new facility states the construction site be appropriately fenced at all times and that construction would shut down during fair week.

•Heard from board Treasurer Casey Sorenson that they have $244,000 committed with $229,000 required for the grant match from the Wyoming Business Council. He said they have $197,800 collected. All funds must be collected by Feb. 15, according to the deadline set by the WBC Board.