New logo for Big Horn County Fair revealed as board considers jackpot event

Barbara Anne Greene

Big Horn County Fair Board members and fair manager Cash Duncan presented a certificate to Jose Garay at the February 5 meeting. Garay’s design was chosen from all the entries in the fair logo contest.
Board member Tracy Haley ran the meeting as chair Luke Foss was not in attendance. New fair board member Becky Bates attended her first meeting since her appointment to the board by the commissioners.
In one of the evening’s primary discussions, Dan VanderPloeg asked the board about a jackpot at the fairgrounds. He said he would facilitate the event. Board member Kelli Mercer said the previous year’s jackpot did not involve the board in any manner. Haley called it a great opportunity for the youth.
VanderPloeg said jackpots were bigger with more local participation when he was a kid. He added that they have become so big that people are traveling hours — even as far away as Utah — to compete in them for the prize money. He added, “To some of these fair kids, they might get one outing a year. If they get two, they are going to be twice as good.”  
Park County is having a jackpot on June 22. He suggested June 23 as a possible date for Big Horn County, noting that people might be drawn to both.  VanderPloeg said jackpots don’t generate money for counties.
He asked board members if they would allow the use of the facility at no charge for a jackpot. He also asked if Duncan could help with the setup and breakdown of pens.
Mercer said the fair board runs the fair while the commissioners own the grounds. They tasked the fair manager with bringing more activities to the fairgrounds. She believes that is why the former fair manager had the jackpot last year.
She noted that there had been jackpots years ago, but more recently, the fair board had not been asked to help with one. She suggested the Junior Fair Board might be able to assist with it.
Board member Tim Allen asked who had run the jackpots in years past.  UW Extension Educator Gretty Gasvoda said the Junior Show Awards Committee, which included former Paintrock FFA advisor Jared Boardman, Mercer and herself. The thought was it would help supplement some of their awards. The award for those jackpots was $500 in cash. They also had to pay judges. “The reality is our county is not huge. We felt like it was taxing our donors for asking for donations for awards, for fair and now the jackpot. We were not making money at it. That is why it went away.” At the same time she believes having one will be a great opportunity for the younger kids.
Haley said she didn’t think the fair board had the authority to waive the use fee. She believes that would be up to Duncan and the commissioners.
Mercer added that if anything had been said about the fair board being against the jackpot, it is not true. Allen added he would like to see it happen as it will benefit his son Chase.
Duncan said he would be happy to help and would ask the commissioners about waiving the use fee.
Duncan discussed future projects. One project is the new bunker for shavings. The concrete blocks paid for by the Livestock Sales Committee are at the fairgrounds. Big Horn County Road & Bridge hauled them for the fair.
The stand-alone panels were also brought to the fairgrounds by Road & Bridge. Signs saying the panels were donated by the Livestock Sales Committee will be added.
All the plaques and signs for the businesses that donated to the building of the multipurpose facility have been cleaned up or redone. Duncan will be putting them up.
He is still looking at finding picnic tables for the midway. Fiber has been installed to the multipurpose building. He also gave an update on how much was raised during the Winter Festival. Entry fees/donations were $2,960.25 before expenses.  
The mechanical bull rides raised $553.
In other fair board business:
• The board ratified the size and some details of the proposed pig barn. Duncan said he would use the information when seeking grants and donations.
• The 2024 sponsorship levels were approved.