Apr 112012

By Linda Kor —

The Navajo County Fair Board is gearing up for another exciting county fair for 2012. The theme for this year is “Fun For The Whole Herd at Navajo County Fair,” and board members are busy making certain their various departments are in order.

One of the changes that will take place this year is an adjustment to the livestock premiums. An apparent error in printing several years ago allowed for small stock to receive a first place premium of $15 instead of $5, and since then the dollar amount has remained the same. The board agreed that the reduction in the small stock premium would allow for other premiums to increase and become more uniform. “There’s a $5,000 investment in beef and a $5 investment in a chicken. I think it’s time we evened that out a little bit,” stated board member Rusty DeSpain.

The board also agreed to place a second category in horse achievement that would allow younger teens to compete separately from older ones. A full listing of the changes will be noted in the fair book issued prior to the fair.

In other business, the board agreed to purchase a belt buckle for former board president Mike Mellor for an amount not to exceed $200. The buckle will be presented in recognition of his work on the board.

The board also approved the use of the grounds for events during Holbrook’s Wild West Days, scheduled on July 6 and 7. Friday night will be set aside for National Barrel Horse Association barrel racing, and on Saturday morning a 4-H show will take place, followed by a Southern Junior Bull Riders Association doubleheader.

Also approved was a request by Reed Flake for use of arena facilities on May 19 and 20.

Hoping to improve cantina usage and efficiency, President Mike Sample will be investigating the purchase of a new 6-foot grill and fryer. The items are not inexpensive, with the grill likely to cost upwards of $5,000 and a fryer running from $700 to $2,600, depending on the model, but board members agreed it would be money well spent. “This is an item that pays for itself. In the past we’ve always gone to used or surplus equipment, and we end up doing it over and over. I suggest we just go new,” stated DeSpain. The cantina was noted as being the guaranteed moneymaker during the fair and other events held during the year at the fair grounds.

The board also approved a $2,000 expense in order to allow event director Mina Henning to accept a special invitation to attend the Calgary Stampede, an annual rodeo, exhibition and festival held every July in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The invitation was sent to Henning as a response to information received by coordinators of the event that her efforts have been significant in the improvements in the Navajo County Fair over the years.

The decision to send Henning to the four-day event was based on the knowledge that would be obtained from the event, the additional fuel costs she will incur this year traveling from her home in Show Low to Holbrook without reimbursement and in acknowledgement of her hard work at the fairgrounds.