Fair board reviews public input ideas

Barbara Anne Greene

At the Sept. 13 Big Horn County Fair Board meeting, the board discussed the input they had received at two public forums. Board member Austin Layne said there were a lot of people at the north end forum. Fair manager Masey Tippetts said there were five people at the south forum.

“They had a lot of good stuff to say,” said Tippets. “One thing that got brought up in the forums is that none of the barns are ADA accessible. I did apply to apply for the Daniels Fund; you have to be invited.”

Tippetts said she was applying for a T-Mobile grant as well as considering others.

Among the ideas that emerged from the public forums were a Wifi booster (during livestock sale), pit walking carts instead of alley, radios for communicating from the arena to the burns during shows/sale, adding an open meat goat class, adding a calligraphy class, printed patterns for horse kids, additional bleachers, adding explanation for static exhibits, alternating the fair board meetings between north and south, and having suggestion boxes at each barn. The board discussed many of the items and will consider incorporating them into next year’s fair.

Lane said that there were a lot of people that were talking about not buying ads next year in the fair book. “If (the money) doesn’t stay with the fair, they don’t want to do it. They don’t want to donate it the county. They want to donate to fix things up. They ask ‘Why don’t they have any money to fix the pig barns or the rabbit barns?’ It should go towards the events at the fair.”

Board member Kelli Mercer said, “That is two fold. That probably was information that didn’t need to be public necessarily. At the same time, it isn’t fair. But then also, I would say doesn’t the fair board get their money from the general fund? In the end, it is our money. It probably shouldn’t go into general fund because then it gets used for other things but is kind of a pay Paul rob Peter type of situation. It’s not earmarked for fair board but even the money that we bring in we can’t build a pig barn with.”

Mercer said the money brought in is used to print the books and serves as a cushion. The book is not a huge moneymaker, she said.

UW Extension Educator Gretty Gasvoda added that the money that comes from the county’s general fund pays for Tippetts’ wage and benefits as well as everything at the fairgrounds. All of the ads that are collected from the book and the sponsor signs at the fairgrounds cover the cost of the running the fair.

Tippetts said she needed to talk to the county commissioners about some of the larger grants she was applying for, as many of them need a match.



Renae Faber of Lovell brought the idea of a junior fair board to this meeting. She said prior to moving to Wyoming, the place she lived had such a board and it was very successful. “We started the junior fair board because we had no money. The state cut us off. Not even for nice ribbons like this,” she said.

She continued that a group of kids were organized to raise money for the fair. It started out as a very small group and it grew to be about 50-60 youth. The kids got to be involved, learn leadership, and decide on projects for the fair. One of the first projects the group did after raising money was to create a Championship Row. Signs were made to show which animals were champions. The kids also helped during fair but fundraising was the main focus. Those kids wrote letters asking for donations.

Faber said that setting up a 501c might be a way to handle the funds. Board chair Warren Adams believes that if a fundraiser is designated for a particular project, say the pig barn, then the money stays with the project. If it is a general fundraiser the money is likely to go in the general fund. There was discussion about asking the county to create a fundraising line item in the fair budget.

Faber said she has applied to be on the fair board and that she would be willing to be an advisor to the kids on the junior board should one be established. She is hoping to pull in youth not normally involved in fair.

The board told Faber they are in favor of the idea. It would need to be approved by the county commissioners. Tippett said she would get it on the commissioner agenda in October.


In other fair board business:

• Fair dates for 2022 are August 1-7.

• The fair will be contacting the schools again regarding a contest among students to draw the fair book cover and come up with a theme.

• The board would like to have a concert again in 2022. Some of the performers under consideration are Sawyer Brown, Ned LeDoux, Colt Ford and others.

• Rolls of toilet paper were stolen from the Laird Sanitation portable bathrooms.

• The fair would like to book more local acts for the free stage. Those interested may contact Tippetts at the fair office.

• There was some discussion about renting out the fair’s tables and chairs.

• Gasvoda discussed possible improvements for the 4-H building.