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By Forrest Hershberger
Publisher, Sun-Telegraph 

Fairboard Questioned after 'Dismal' Fair

 

August 31, 2022 | View PDF



The Cheyenne County Fairboard was blasted with questions and criticism after this year’s county fair and rodeo.

The fairboard holds its meetings in a small office complex adjacent to the arena, except when an overflow crowd requires a larger facility. The 6:30 p.m. Aug. 22 meeting was moved to the east end of the 4-H building with the board seated facing north. A crowd estimated at about 20 showed up for the meeting.

The night’s agenda included reviewing the ADA handicap accessibility of the grandstands.

New business included review of the various activities and events at the fair this year. The meeting started with board members and the public addressing the fair. Board treasurer Kip Miller explained the cost of each event — rodeo, demolition derby, and concert/barbecue — and revenue from each event. The demolition derby for example, cost a $4,000 fee, and $1,000 in radio advertising, for a loss of about $1,422, according to Miller.

Discussion between the board and the public included how to track ticket sales; adult sales, complimentary tickets and youth entries.

“We gotta get a better system,” Miller said. “We’re stating there’s a problem that needs fixed.”

One of the concerns discussed is the low attendance at fair events. This year, the fair board decided to offer a free concert and dinner, and still didn’t see the hoped-for numbers in the grandstands.

“We need help,” said Board President Troy Kurz. “It takes more than this board of seven.”

One of those in attendance questioned how many board members were active with the fair week.

“There’s a lot more than being seen,” said board member Shelly Sutherland.

The board was then questioned how a person can get involved.

“We don’t have an active recruiting program,” said Kurz.

Kurz did say there was a sign-up sheet at the meeting for anyone interested.

There was also a discussion on the Fair Queen program. Part of the issue is that this year the Cheyenne County Fair and Rodeo Queen is from Morrill County.

Board member Ashley Tomberg said she is involved in developing a princess program to encourage girls to participate in the Queens contest. Sutherland said the 2023 Queen program will be improved from this year.

“I will tell you the queens are going to be like any other county fair,” she said.

The public and the board also discussed the option of a beer garden during the Fair. Cheyenne County Commissioner Randy Miller, present at the meeting, said the project has to be brought before the commissioners.

“It has to be proposed,” he said. “It is up to the Fair Board to propose it and bring it to the commissioners.”

The possibility of returning a carnival to the County Fair was also discussed.

“I’m not going to lie to you. It’s going to be an uphill battle,” said Kurz.

Board member Kip Miller had said earlier he is in contact with a carnival organization; no word on the company’s decision.

The board also discussed the fair schedule for 2023, in relation to the Logan County Fair and Cheyenne Frontier Days. The Cheyenne County Fair is expected to be about the same time in 2023, July 24-30.

The Cheyenne County Fair Board meets 6:30 p.m. the last Monday of each month at the fairgrounds. The next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 26.

 

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