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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Sheep wagon how
Home arts entries
Monday, Aug. 12
Youth horse shows starts, continues through Wednesday
Home arts judging day
Youth livestock arrival
4H, FFA buildings open to receive entries
Vendor set up
Tuesday, Aug. 13
Official opening day
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
Timed event and steer opening slack
Single PRCA performance
Crown Miss Rodeo Wyo
Youth breeding beef show
FFA beef showmanship (maybe)
Open prospect calf show
Jackpot market goat show
Saturday, Aug. 17
Youth market beef show
Open sheep show
4H dairy goat show
FFA dairy goat show
4H modeling and fashion review
Youth alpaca and llama show
FFA round robin showmanship
Youth jackpot swine show
Grandstand: Demolition derby