County considers age limits for Fair exhibitors
March 12, 2020
POMEROY–Sara Lunsford, representing the Garfield County Fair Board, met with the County Commissioners March 2, 2020, to get some clarity on some issues before the next Fair Board meeting March 3, 2020.
Lunsford asked for opinions on the proposed age limits for exhibitors of hogs at the fair. It has been suggested that children under the age of five should be prohibited due to safety concerns and overcrowding by a large number of children wanting to participate with their hogs. She stated that there had been some public comments stating that if age limits were going to be imposed for hog exhibitors, then the same rule should apply to all animal exhibitors.
Commissioner Justin Dixon stated that allowing children under five to exhibit hogs is good experience for them, and feels that if they have been around hogs a fair amount of time, they can handle the animals. He added that if there is room available for them to participate, and the parents allow it, then the County should not worry about any liability issues. “The fair is for the kids,” he said, and did not feel they should be excluded.
Commissioner Bob Johnson countered by saying, that being a member of the County’s Risk Pool Committee, he is keenly aware of liability issues, and feels that there is too much potential for injury because small children are not physically capable of handling animals such as hogs and steers. He added that they can get the experience as exhibitors through handling sheep, which are more gentle animals.
Lunsford then suggested that they consider limiting the number of participants allowed for each type of animal, and then fill those slots starting with the oldest applicants first, working down to the younger applicants, until all slots are filled. That would solve the overcrowding problem, and would not be excluding any participants because of simply their age. The commissioners all seemed to be more agreeable with this compromise, and Lunsford said they would discuss it again at the upcoming Fair Board meeting.
The commissioners confirmed that the rental of RV spaces at the fairgrounds will continue to be handled by Lisbeth Randall at the WSU Extension office, as well as building rentals.