Wyoming State Fair Board continues working on 2019 event, advances planning conversation
Douglas – On Jan. 7, the members of the Wyoming State Fair (WSF) Board met in Douglas for the second time, advancing their work to plan the 2019 Wyoming State Fair.
In their November meeting, the board voted to extend the WSF to five days, providing more room for additional activities, and during their first meeting of 2019, they drafted a schedule of events, which provides a broad basis for the rest of the 2019 fair to be developed around.
WSF Director James Goodrich is working to solidify the draft of events, noting it will be available within the next month.
“There are a few more tweaks that we need to make,” Goodrich said. “Of course, everything is subject to change with the schedule, but we want to have it as solid as possible before we release the schedule.”
Overall, Goodrich and WSF Board President Joe Rankin said the board is continuing to advance its work, all while learning its legal limitations and developing rapport with each other.
Rankin added, overall, the meeting went well, saying, “We have some excellent people on our board who understand that we need to run the fair like a business as much as we can.”
“All of our board members have come in with an open mind, genuine interest and support of the Wyoming State Fair,” Goodrich commented. “We’re fortunate to have board members who are willing to ask questions and learn everything they can.”
“We’re still answering a lot of questions and getting more familiar with what we need to do and can do,” Goodrich commented. “This is only the second meeting of the full board, and each of our subcommittees has only met once so far.”
Additionally, as the board works to create rules, Goodrich said, “We’re creating our rules from the ground up, which is a big challenge.”
As they look forward, Rankin also mentioned the board would like to pursue a master plan.
“Several years ago, there was money allocated to develop a master plan for the Wyoming State Fair from our enterprise fund, which is the income generated from off-season events on the grounds,” Rankin explained. “When we took major budget cuts, that money was used to fund the fair itself, rather than a master plan.”
As a result, he said they need funding to create such a plan that would look at the big picture for the work that needs to be done on the Wyoming State Fairgrounds.
“We need to develop our plan for the Wyoming State Fair moving forward,” Rankin said. “Incorporated into the master plan would be a state construction review of all of our buildings and the work that must be done to bring them up to code.”
Rankin also noted the WSF Endowment continues to grow, nearing its goal of $100,000 to receiving matching funds from the Wyoming Legislature.
“We still have a little ways to go and a little over a year to raise that money,” he said, adding, while $100,000 is a good start, the income generated would not provide nearly enough to impact WSF overall. “This endowment is a step in the right direction, and we’re thankful to Rep. Bill Henderson.”
“We’re also thankful to Gov. Mead, who recommended $2 million from the Pari-Mutuel Commission be put in the WSF Endowment,” Rankin commented. “That would be another step in the right direction.”
While they have big goals, Rankin said currently, the board is focused on putting the 2019 Wyoming State Fair together and operating the event.
“Hopefully, adding a fifth day to the fair is a positive move forward,” he said, adding they are looking forward to continuing to improve the Wyoming State Fair.
A community meeting will be held at the fairgrounds in the next several months to go over changes, explain the board’s activities and take questions and ideas for the future, said Rankin.
Additionally, the next meeting of the Wyoming State Fair Board will be held in mid-March, with a finalized date to be selected by the board in the near future.
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.