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Arena concerns for kids and cars


March 12, 2020

POMEROY–Board President Sara Lunsford stated that the group wanted to listen to people’s thoughts about two subjects, after which the audience would be dismissed and the board would go into executive session concerning those issues. The subjects to be discussed were:

1) How old should children be in order to show animals at the fair?

2) What are people’s thoughts about starting a demolition derby as an additional entertainment event on Saturday night of the fair as a new source of income?

Brian Scoggin shared his views regarding the age of children showing animals. He felt that children should be no younger than five years of age, particularly when showing swine, as pigs can be unpredictable in their behavior; they can become mean and aggressive, and the safety of the children becomes a concern. There is also very little room in the hog barn by the time the 4-H and FFA members enter their animals. Scoggin also pointed out that children showing steers, goats and sheep have a halter on their animals and often have an adult with them in the arena, whereas in the hog arena it is just the child, their pig and the arena assistants present.

Katie Magill talked about the small size of Garfield County’s hog arena as compared to larger ones in surrounding counties. If the age of children were to be lowered and space for showing is a concern, then perhaps the class sizes could be divided up so fewer pigs would be in the arena at any given time so as to lessen encounters between agitated animals. Sherry Ledgerwood also shared similar thoughts.

Becky Tetrick related how one of her daughters was not allowed to show her peg at the fair last year because she was not yet five years old. Tetrick’s daughter had worked at home taming her own pig alongside her older sister and her animal. The rule that the exhibitor had to be five years old was new as of last year’s fair. The younger daughter had to leave her pig at home, which left a vacant spot in the pen intended for the two sisters to share.

Other suggestions included bringing the pigs out into the arena for a few minutes before the children entered in order to let the animals run around and use up some of their feistiness. The exhibitors could then come into the arena, find their own pig and then have the judging begin. Several folks proposed compromising on the age limit and possibly have it be four years of age to be animal exhibitor across the board, whether the event was pigs, steers, sheep or goats. Lunsford read some regulations she had obtained from neighboring counties in regards to this issue.

The requirement that final confirmation of animals being entered in the fair needs to occur ninety days prior to the fair was reviewed. Much discussion took place regarding this entire subject, including the liability of the fair association for keeping the children as safe as possible. Scoggin stated that if the age limit was lowered to any younger than five years of age for showing pigs, he would step down from being the superintendent of the hog barn. He felt very strongly that children younger than five years old cannot be kept safe enough due to their size.

Patrick Bly, who is promoting the demolition derby, shared details with the entire group regarding the event. Some details included having a two-year contract to begin with, as he feels an event of this nature truly takes that long to become established and reflect the positive effects it would have on the fair. Ticket sales would be $12 in advance and $15 at the gate. An ambulance and two fire trucks would need to be present. Discussion ensued about how this would be paid for. Bly’s company, Bly Motorsports, is comprised of eight people and they do all the work involved: advertising, setting up and running the event, and cleaning up afterwards. The Fair would pay him $500 up front and the Fair would receive ten percent of the profits. Everything would be supplied by Bly except for the land on which the event is held. The derby would be staged at the fairgrounds west of where all the dry camping occurs, close to the rodeo grounds. Bly said that Dayton pays him and his team to run a derby event there.

Krey Miller brought information he had obtained from other areas that hold demo derbies. They received fifty percent of the ticket sales and were required to carry twenty-two to fifty million dollars of insurance, not just one million. Deposits are made by the promoter to ensure the grounds are returned to satisfactory condition after the event is concluded.

Many concerns were raised, such as how is any liquid pollution and metal from the cars cleaned up? The EWAM group plows, plants and harvests crops from that land, so liquid pollution may affect the crops. Several people expressed concerns about any metal that might be left in the area, as that could injure horses that warm up there prior to the rodeo.

Other questions included: If other derbies are already scheduled in the area, how would that affect attendance with so many scheduled in a small vicinity?

When asked who was sanctioning the event, Bly said it was the Crash Mania Circuit.

What is the whole purpose of starting this event? Is it to bring more bodies to the fair or is it a fundraiser that could be held at some other time so as to not interfere with the fair or rodeo events?

Where is the ticket booth going to be? Does a fair board member need to be present in the derby ticket booth as well? Where are the vendors going to be set up?

How is the dust going to be controlled? Bly said that water trucks will be used in the arena.

What about the noise level? It’s going to disturb the animals and campers on that side of the fairgrounds. Members of the audience were quite concerned about the noise, and the question was asked if there is a safety checklist that is reviewed by some entity prior to beginning the derby.

How is parking going to be managed? Bly and his crew will handle that.

Is there a contract with the County? The contract has to be reviewed by Garfield County’s attorney, Matt Newberg, before the event can even begin to be planned. Does Bly have any letters of support? Did the commissioners do reference checks?

Are there also going to be motorcycle and ATV races? Bly said there will be motorcycle races between the Derby heats. He will have to check with the commissioners to see if there is insurance coverage for the ATV riders like the motorcycle riders.

Does the Fair need to supply the sound system? According to Bly, that would be supplied by him.

In response to the question of how someone would sign up, Bly said there will be pre-registration for participants.

When asked when the Fair would receive its’ ten percent, Bly said by the end of September.

Are there regulations regarding how far from the creek the arena needs to be? Bly had measured the distance before the meeting and said the arena is ninety feet away from the creek.

Is there a planned clean-up method for spilled oil or gas? Just dousing with plenty of water, Bly said.

The Demolition Derby was to be discussed further by the board in executive session later.

A suggestion was voiced about getting an adult showmanship competition started at the fair, possible beginning with pigs this year, and maybe holding a round-robin type event next year. This was suggested at a Garfield County 4-H meeting as a fundraiser. A motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously by the board for the 4-H group to proceed with planning this event.

A short break was called and the audience was thanked for their participation in discussing the animal exhibitor age issue as well as comments regarding the Demolition Derby. Visitors were excused at this time and the board reconvened in executive session soon after that. Only official Fair Board members returned to complete the meeting. Topics discussed were the Demolition Derby and livestock exhibitor age limits.

The Garfield County Fair Board met on February 18, 2020, in the Dick Brown Community Building at the fairgrounds with a large group of fourteen members and fourteen visitors in attendance.

A special Fair Board meeting is scheduled for March 3 at 7 p.m. All livestock superintendents are encouraged to attend this meeting in order to finalize livestock exhibitor age limits. The next meeting will be March 17, 2020, at 7 p.m.


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