May 112011

By Linda Kor —

A new board member was elected to the Navajo County Fair Board May 5. Jake Hatch of Taylor was the only individual who presented a letter of interest for the position and was unanimously voted in by the board.

Hatch is not new to the fair, entertaining audiences during the demolition derby by performing tricks driving a Bobcat Tractor. Hatch is also planning to include a Bobcat competition as part of the fair events this year.

Holbrook Chamber of Commerce President Yvonne Larson asked the board to provide a discount on the use of facilities so that an event could be held on July 9 as an additional draw to the Old West Days events scheduled for July 8 and 9.

“We would help pay to bring the event here, but the chamber has no funding for this, so we are asking if they could receive some sort of discount,” explained Larson. SJBRA is a for-profit organization that held its event during the last Old West Days event.

Larson also indicated that one of the reasons the discount was requested was that the $40,000 in Lodgers Tax being provided by the city to the fair had reduced the funds received by the chamber to operate.

“What is the single biggest event that takes place in Holbrook?” asked Vice President Mike Sample. “There are other members of the chamber that have been upset regarding the $40,000, but I would think you would want to try to take part in promoting the fair. There is no comparison between Old West Days and our five-day event.”

Sample also noted that the chamber has apparently made efforts to take events from the fair, referring to an event that was supposed to be held at the fairgrounds last weekend, but had been moved to the Elks Lodge. The event coordinator stated that the chamber had recommended it. Sample also mentioned that a barbecue competition that had already been in the planning stages for the fair was instead moved to Old West Days.

“I feel the chamber is trying to take events away from us instead of promoting us,” stated Sample.

In response, Larson stated that she was completely unaware of the incidents Sample referred to.

“We are in full support of the fair and the fair getting the $40,000. I had no idea there were any issues like this. We do what we can to support every event that comes to town, but like I said, our limited funding keeps us from doing as much as we’d like,” stated Larson, who also recommended that as chamber members, the fair board was welcome to utilize the Chamber Master program available on chamber’s website in order to promote the fair.

After some consideration to the sensitivity of the issue, Larson offered a trade rather than simply a discount for the facility. She offered to advertise the upcoming county fair as part of the Old West Days advertising, with the fair board listed as a sponsor and the sponsorship being a discounted rate for the bull riding event.

Sample and the board agreed to the arrangement, with SJBRA paying for the use of the facility at $400, but with no cost for arena preparation or bucking shoots, a discount of $350.

In a discussion of the upcoming fair, Trent Larson stated that to date six people have signed up for the demolition derby, including one female for the powder puff competition. It was suggested by board member Jimmy Crosby that Larson contact the various Northern Arizona Vocational Institute of Technology programs to encourage the high school students to enter cars for the event.

Ongoing concerns regarding the electrical issues with the fairgrounds were discussed, with board member Terry Nelson stating that even if nothing were done by fair time, they would be fine using generators. He added that there is one electric company that is looking at the cost for repairs and the possibility of having prison inmates help with some of the labor.

In other business, the board:

* Approved a facilities request by Lisa Johnson and Marlin Gillespie for an event to be held in the large arena on July 4.

* Approved a facilities request by Shannon Spencer in order to host a western dance on June 25 in the open class building.

* Approved a facilities request in order to host a fundraiser event for Bev Carroll in the small arena on May 28.