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Montgomery County Fair Board looks to future

MOUNT IDA – While discussion grew loud at times it remained cordial as a large crowd gathered to discuss the future of the county fair at the Montgomery County Fair’s September board meeting.

A group of around 30 people, including board members and guests, gathered at the fairgrounds Monday night for their monthly meeting. President Jeff Robertson opened the meeting with the reading of the minutes and a discussion of July and August’s financial reports.

The report for the most recent county fair was read. The report showed a profit in all categories.

Front gate fees collected $978 with a profit of $933.99 after taxes were paid.

The Rodeo Queen contest took in $1,100 with expenses totaling $863.86 for a profit of $246.14.

The Fair Pageant collected $2,245 and showed a profit of $1,776.23.

The Livestock Show took in $750 with a profit of $341.50. Fair board members also purchased some of the left over perishable items for a total of $60.59.

They collected $2,717 in concessions with  profit of $1,490.01.

Income at the rodeo was $6,506 with a profit of 2,343.

They also collected $5,120 from the catalog and sign sponsorships. After expenses they showed a profit of $2,720.

The Tiny Show Team showed a profit of $198.16.

There were a small list of miscellaneous expenses that totaled $1,481.78.

The topic of discussion turned to next year’s fair with several in attendance expressing a desire to see the fair moved to September.

Jennifer Barrett shared that the fair was moved from September to August in the past to increase their chances of attracting a carnival. While they have not been able to attract a carnival recently they are still working to get one back.

There was also talk about moving the date for the parade to later in the week. Some wanted to see the rodeo offer more prize money. While everyone seemed open to seeing changes made no items were voted on by the board.

Robertson proposed a change to the point system for exhibitors. He explained that currently prize money is paid out based on a point system that heavily favors the livestock exhibitors.

Under the current system a pool of prize money is paid out based on the amount of points awarded for the top spots. Each point received has an equal value for all exhibitors. The livestock winners receive as many as 400 points for first place while craft and food exhibitors receive no more than three for a top spot. This means have craft and food exhibitors received as little as 10 cents which he pointed out is less than what it costs to print the check.

The proposed system would lower the point totals awarded in the livestock barn which would increase the value of a single point. This would increase prize money for the craft and food exhibitors. The hope is an increase in prize money will draw more participants in these areas.

It was also suggested that a later date for the fair would allow students who had returned to school to participate. Board members shared that most art entries are collected in the Spring and a later start wouldn’t improve participation. 

Everyone agreed that an improved school participation from all three campuses would help the fair grow.

The change in the point system was tabled until a later date.

Robertson also suggested a change in the way categories are grouped to help make it easier to track points earned. A committee was formed and they are to get with Amy Monk to discuss changes.

They also discussed using a designated order of numbers to distinguish between junior and senior participants.

The board voted to move the check in time for livestock to 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday and the chicken bleeding to 4-6 p.m. on Sunday.

As the meeting drew to a close guests were asked if any were interested in becoming board members. Several expressed an interest and the board wrote their names down to begin their one year mandatory participation. At the end of a year if they meet the requirements they will be considered for inclusion on the board.

Article Written by Dewayne Holloway

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