Fair building digging begins

By KARLA POMEROY

While ground was broken last week and work began Tuesday to dig the foundation for the new multi-purpose building funding questions remained.

Newly elected Fair Board Chairman Tim Flitner told the board Monday night that he submitted a letter to the Daniels Fund seeking an extension through June 30, 2015. A new amended schedule for the $85,000 Daniels Fund grant had been signed by Daniels Fund senior vice president Bill Fowler. The Big Horn County commissioners approved the amended schedule at Tuesday’s commissioner meeting.

According to the Daniels Fund expected outcomes of the grant and project, “The result of this grant will be to construct a new multi-purpose exhibition building to provide meeting, activity and event space for 1,200 youth and youth-serving programs that include 4-H, FFA, Boy Scouts, youth rodeo, sports and other youth-serving programs and activities. Youth programs that develop principled leadership and character, along with entrepreneurial, financial and free enterprise skills through hands-on, learn-by-doing partnerships with caring adult leaders.”

At Monday’s Fair Board meeting, Commission Chairman Jerry Ewen said he would be presenting a letter to the commissioners to be sent to the Wyoming Business Council requesting that the breezeway be eliminated from the project in an effort to trim the project for the finances available.

Keith Grant at Tuesday’s meeting said he was opposed to the request. “It seems it’s a way to get more money out fo the county. We could use the breezeway and fix up the restrooms in the current facility to meet the requirements of the grant.”

Ewen said the restrooms and showers are a requirement of the grant and makes the facility more useable where a breezeway could be added later.

Fair board member Felix Carrizales, who was in attendance as a candidate for county commissioner, said, “This is not something we thought of as a way to get more money from the county. The need for bathrooms and showers is huge, otherwise the building becomes just a shell. I have empathy with what you’re saying but we need to get rid of the old (shower) trailer. It just in bad shape.

Commissioner John Hyde asked if the letter the WBC allocated any additional funding from the county and Ewen said no. He said he would not approve any additional money for the building.

The commissioners then tabled a decision wanting final construction figures and wanting to know if eliminating the breezeway would be enough that the building could be constructed with current funds.

Grant also noted the fair board needs a good marketer. “You need a fair manager out promoting the building and kicking every rock to get people to use the facility.”

In other building news, Ewen added that the state electrical inspector was concerned when he saw the building had been delivered but that a plan review had never been submitted to the state fire marshal’s office for review. Plan One delivered the plans last week.

Other business

In other business, the board:

  • Agreed to direct Fair Manager Vangi Hackney to purchase new equipment for the horse show and other horse events, up to $3,000. Items include an electronic eye for timed events, poles for pole bending and dressage equipment.
  • Flitner reported Hackney, who was gone due to illness, has been researching magicians, ventriloquists, hypnotists and a hillbilly act.
  • Elected new officers — Flitner as chairman, Andy Perkins as vice chairman, Carl Nielsen as secretary and Casey Sorenson remains as treasurer.
  • Discussed raising venue gates to $10 but tabled action until they could research why the entrance fee for pig wrestling was $2 less than the other two grandstand events — rodeo and demolition derby.

The board was in agreement to provide some sort of family package price next year and possibly a package deal for the youth who are involved at the fair.

  • Tabled action on raising weekly camping fees but did approve a motion to raise daily fees to $30.

Felix Carrizales said the board should look at raising vendor fees. It was asked if the board would charge fees to vendors when other events are held at the fairgrounds and they agreed that’s something they need to consider.

  • Heard a report from Livestock Sales committee chairman Gretchen Gasvoda that the next meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Oct. 21. Items to be discussed include providing a paper trail on which animals are purchased by which buyers to packing/processing plants. Gasvoda said this is a request by one of the processing plants.

Flitner said buyers should be encouraged to schedule processing prior to going to the sale.

  • Heard a report that the Rocky Mountain FFA had a service day and worked on the sheep bard and replaced the rail at the front of the show arena.