Fair board covered many topics

The Yuma County Fair Board covered a wide range of issues during its meeting at the Eckley Community Center, Monday night.
It was the annual meeting for public comments and recommendations, attracting 15 people.

There was a little bit of discussion about the new schedule. The fair board had voted in September to move the 2022 Fair to a Tuesday through a Monday, August 2-8. Moving the concert to Friday night, the parade to Saturday morning and the Junior Livestock Sale to Saturday, and along with evening PRCA rodeos on Sunday and Monday. The Yuma County Commissioners also have approved the changes.
Board members stressed that the overall schedule remains a work in progress.
Board member Darcy Stallings said a lot of people have been involved, over the course of several meetings, re-doing the schedule. Micah Seyler noted that numbers have been in decline in all areas of the fair. He said putting more of the key events on the weekend will make it easier for more people to participate. Harold Blackham said the night show is “broken,” so it is time to either get rid of it or put it in a time slot that could lead to bigger crowds.
In regards to the Junior Livestock Sale, which has been held on Monday evenings, that hardly anyone was there at the end of it this year. The hope is more buyers will stick around to the end by moving it to an afternoon start on a Saturday. There also was discussion about the dates for interview judging and the 4-H Fashion Revue.
Board member Jackie Schneider presented some suggestions for new events, such as a movie night, chili cookoff, “old person” beef showmanship, and a farmers market.
It was suggested that all Grand Champions and Reserve Grand Champions should be required to sell at the fair. Often the winners are left out of the sale so the animal can be taken to the state fair. Many area counties reportedly require the GC and RGC to be sold at the fair. However, it also was noted people in those counties have told Yuma County people that they are jealous our county champions can be taken to the state fair.
The board did not make any decision on the subject.
The “fitters” rule was a discussion subject at the meeting.
Most everyone at the meeting seemed in agreement with dropping the fitters rule, which states that adults who help youth with their animal projects need to be enrolled as a 4-H leader, or be a 4-H member or family member.
However, many who help the youth do not meet that criteria. Sometimes it is a breeder, and about the only time they can help a youth is at the fair. It was noted that the bottom line is the youth is learning how to care for their animal no matter who is the fitter.
Stallings suggested possibly holding clinics for youth to attend.
The board voted to add a “Cattlemen’s” (slick shear) division to market beef. The hope is it will increase the number of entries as that division will be for beef with shorter hair. It was noted it will allow youth that do not have coolers, to enter beef projects with shorter hair and still have a chance to compete.
The winners from the different divisions all will go into the championship drive.
The board voted to change the top weight for Market Beef to 1,650 pounds, while leaving the bottom end at 1,050. It was decided the weight ranges in the other species are fine the way they are.
There was discussion to allow as many entries as one wants to at weigh-in, but eventually can enter only four at the fair.
The board board voted to recommend to the Yuma County Commissioners that Kim Latoski remain as fair manager. The board will set up a meeting to work with Latoski on expectations.
An election for board officers was held. Dave Blach was re-elected as president, Stallings as vice president, and Michelle Smith as secretary. Smith and Schneider had been serving as co-secretaries, but the decision was made to go with one.

A presentation was made to the board about the Heartland Pulling Series, which features truck and tractor pulling. The fair board was interested, but it was felt it would be difficult to fit into the schedule, but would be a great event to put on at the fairgrounds at some other time of the year.
The fair board heard about technology enhancements being planned for the fairgrounds, which will involve grant funding, the need to address the uncomfortable conditions in the Poultry Barn and Home Ec building, and the need to update the fairbook and make sure it is accurate.
The beer garden was discussed. It raised about $1,400 for the fair, with most of that coming the first night it was open during the Junior Livestock Sale. There was not as much activity the next evening during the night show concert. There was discussion about changes and improvements that could be made for the 2022 fair.