Concert

Concert-goers line the front of the stage during the 2018 Wyoming State Fair.

The Wyoming State Fair Board and staff have figured out a large portion of the 2019 fair’s planning, including a tentative schedule and vendor fees.

The board, which was created by the legislature earlier this year, met at the fairgrounds Monday, Jan. 7, after convening for the first time in October. In addition to presenting schedules and fees, the board discussed infrastructure projects, a new master plan and began writing its bylaws.

Major construction

Three major WSF construction projects are in the architecture and design phase. A new drainage system is needed around the Ft. Reno building. The asphalt around the Ag Hall and down to the Ft. Fetterman building needs work. Also, some old cottonwood trees’ days are numbered. The WSF has $15,000 set aside for tree removal.

“We have a safety concern and a safety issue with a lot of these aging cottonwood trees,” WSF Director James Goodrich said.

In addition to major projects, the board also talked about the future of some fairgrounds buildings.

Wyoming State Fair Board Chairman Joe Rankin, Converse County and Douglas’ representative, explained that a number of structures on the fairgrounds would cost more to repair than they’re worth. About a fifth of the more than 50 WSF buildings are in the red, including the food concession building down at Rotary booth, the Ft. Laramie dorm, the dairy barn and the Ft. Washakie dorm.

“The money’s sitting there to work on some of these buildings,” Rankin said.

The fair should also receive new revenues from the Pari-Mutuel fund. Former Gov. Matt Mead recommended $2 million from the fund go into the state fair endowment and $500,000 be used for equestrian infrastructure on the fairgrounds.

Master plan

The state fair board feels it needs a new master plan, which primarily guides the board and staff on how to use facilities and make long-term infrastructure decisions.

In 2016, the fair had $100,000 allotted for a new master plan, but when budget problems arose, that money was used elsewhere.

With the next state legislative session a year away, and the next budget beginning in July of 2020, the fair is 18 months away from securing funding for a master plan.

“I think the strategic plan of where this fair’s going is critical for what we’re here for and what we’re charged to do,” Northwest Quadrant Representative Joe Bridges said. “I think sitting around 18 months . . . is going to really hamper us.”

A state senator or representative could propose a bill that, if approved, would secure funding for a master plan quickly.

Wyoming Business Council Representative Ron Harvey explained that as a state entity, the WSF board can’t lobby the legislature for funding, and that includes individual board members.

“We can give them facts, but we can’t lobby, so we have to be careful in how we prepare this,” he said.

It could also be possible to fund the master plan through State Construction Management.

“At this point, as private citizens, it would behoove all of us to contact the legislature – don’t ask for money, just give him or her the facts,” Rankin said.

Board members can ask groups like WAM (Wyoming Association of Municipalities) or the Wyoming County Commissioners Association to lobby for the master plan funding on the board’s behalf.

Fees

Entry fees will remain unchanged this year, while vendor fees will increase slightly, simply because the fair will run a day longer.

The board noted that they will need to work out how campground fees will affect youth horse show families, which will have to arrive at the fair early.

Vendor/campground fees:

Covered commercial space: $275

Outside commercial space (midway): $325

Department ranch space: $500

Food concession in food court: $1,100

Food concession in grandstand: $1,300

Impulse food concession on midway: $600

Season campground (Tuesday through Saturday) $200

Daily campground fee: $50

Tentative schedule

This year’s schedule should make fair week less hectic for kids showing in multiple livestock competitions.

“The biggest concern was placement of some of the youth shows of course, when we condensed into four days,” Goodrich said.

Goodrich also said that the official, complete schedule will ideally be ready by March 15.

However, the tentative state fair schedule, while incomplete at this point, was released as follows:

Official fair dates: Tuesday, Aug. 13, through Saturday, Aug. 17.

Friday, Aug. 9

Ft. Fetterman Remount Horse Sale

Saturday, Aug. 10

Kidz and Kars parade

Home arts entries

Sheep wagon show

Ranch horse (potentially)

Ranch rodeo (potentially)

Youth livestock deadline

Sunday, Aug. 11

Youth horse show arrival

Dutch oven

Sheep wagon how

Home arts entries

Monday, Aug. 12

Youth horse shows starts, continues through Wednesday

Home arts judging day

Youth livestock arrival

Dorms open

4H, FFA buildings open to receive entries

Vendor set up

Tuesday, Aug. 13

Official opening day

Opening ceremonies

4H dog show

Weigh in and processing for youth market livestock

Check in for youth breeding livestock

Begin youth breeding meat goat shows

Grandstand at night: Pig wrestling

Carnival open (uncomfirmed)

Vendors - 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 14

4H cat show

4H livestock judging contest

Begin hosting an open cattle show

Wyo Jr. Angus association show (maybe)

Judging all 4H non-livestock exhibits

Begin some youth market shows

Market goat show

Jackpot market lamb show

4H sheep showmanship (maybe)

Jr. market lamb champion of champions

Youth breeding swine show

4H swine showmanship

Jr. market swine champion of champions (maybe)

Grandstand at night: Motor sports event

Carnival and vendors

Thursday, Aug. 15

FFA sheep showmanship

Youth breeding sheep show

4H beef showmanship

Youth poultry show

Wyo Pioneer Assoc. Day

Hereford Angus open shows

Jackpot beef show

Jr. market beef champion of champions

FFA swine showmanship

Youth market swine show

Grandstand at night: “Depending on budget it could be motor sports, it could be a family fun night, or it could possibly still be a concert, we don’t know yet,” Goodrich said. “We’ll have to finalize that in the next few weeks.”

Friday, Aug. 16

Rodeo day

Timed event and steer opening slack

Single PRCA performance

Crown Miss Rodeo Wyo

Youth breeding beef show

FFA beef showmanship (maybe)

Commercial heifer

Open prospect calf show

Longhorn show

Sheep lead

Mustangs

Jackpot market goat show

Saturday, Aug. 17

Youth market beef show

Open sheep show

Mustang activities

Rope fest

4H dairy goat show

FFA dairy goat show

4H modeling and fashion review

Youth alpaca and llama show

Farmers market

FFA round robin showmanship

Youth jackpot swine show

Grandstand: Demolition derby

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