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Written by James Goodrich

Much has been said regarding the past, present and future of the Wyoming State Fair and Rodeo. In recent months, there has been outreach and debate at all levels of state government and associated organizations.  While the future remains unclear, one element is certain – the Wyoming State Fair and Rodeo has touched many lives in its 105-year history.

In the current environment of advocacy for technological advancement, which is necessary and inevitable, I believe we must stop for a moment and realize the value of basic skills for everyday life. Add to that the gradual disappearance of interaction and comradery with those of similar interests and vocation. Wyoming State Fair and Rodeo, the facilities provided by the State Fair Grounds and the cooperative programs with associated organizations form a valuable package that has served the people of our state for multiple generations. This valuable combination continues to provide a means for preserving and developing the critical skills needed to serve and enhance our everyday lives.

Much like other activities and programs designed to serve similar purposes, the agricultural expositions throughout our nation are subject to criticism and doubt. It is easy and often times fashionable to criticize. I have found myself in that vein at times. We need to look beyond those thoughts and actions for the results we wish to achieve and take part in the process and programs available.

Within the environment of our state, we must continue to recognize the factors that influence our patterns and priorities. Population density, distance of travel, advent of new and competing interests, changes in workplace and family time commitments, access to transportation and resources and improvement of facilities and resources at most all local levels – all of these factors are thrust into the mix when determining the value and future of the Wyoming State Fair and Rodeo.

105 years is a significant achievement. Obviously there have been many ups and downs over that time period. I firmly believe that our current dilemma is merely another “bump in the road” for our state.  It has been a building block process for the facilities and programs to be where they are today. We need to look at the circumstances of this snapshot in time as a part of that process.  Many more lives will be touched by the Wyoming State Fair and Rodeo. 

We still have a strong foundation. We still have a unique lifestyle in our state. We still have the opportunity for unique events that help to provide a complete package of youth development, agricultural networking, business promotion, positive economic impact and cultural experiences. 

It is all right here. We merely need to stop and recognize the significance of our achievements and continue to participate by whatever means are reasonably possible.