By Linda Kor
The Navajo County Fair Board met Dec. 12 to make decisions regarding board membership and participation rules for fair entries.
Last month the board was made aware of an apparent loophole in the bylaws when member Jimmy Crosby, who recently moved to Apache County, asked to remain on the board.
President Mike Sample pointed out at the time that according to the bylaws, one of the requirements to be a board member is that the individual must be a bonafide resident of Navajo County. Also within those bylaws, “bonafide” is defined as an individual who “has resided” in Navajo County for no less than one year. Accord-ing to Sample, the wording indicated that an individual does not have to be a current resident, just someone who at one time lived in Navajo County. By that determination, Sample argued, Crosby was eligible to remain on the board.
After lengthy discussion, the board agreed 5-3, with five members absent, to allow Crosby to finish out the remainder of his term, which will expire at the end of 2013.
In last week’s meeting, the board addressed the issue of the wording in the bylaws and agreed unanimously to change the bylaws definition of bonafide to state anyone who “resides” in Navajo County for at least one year.
It was also noted that individuals seeking election to the board must submit a letter of interest to the fair board office by Thursday, Dec. 20. The letter may be sent to P.O. Box 309, Holbrook, Ariz. 86025, or taken to the office at 404 E. Hopi Drive in Holbrook. More information can be obtained by calling (928) 524-4757.
Each of the five vacancies has a term of three years. The terms that will expire with the new year include those held by Sample, Valerie Slade, Kelly Favro, Melissa Buckley and Dale Rogers.
The board also addressed an issue brought before them by Kevin Rencher. Rencher had submitted open class entries in the Agricultural Department as part of this year’s county fair for each of his children, including his 6-month-old daughter. Those entries listed under her name were omitted from judging, as the open class committee agreed that a child of that age was incapable of growing an exhibit.
As part of the rules listed in the fair book, it states that each entry must be grown by the exhibitor; but un-der age categories, the first is ages 0-6.
Rencher argued that although his daughter had not grown the entry herself, she was an active participant in the family’s farming activities, and he believed he had followed the fair’s rules regarding the allowable age for an exhibitor.
“My family has been a part of the fair for what seems like forever. We (farm) every day and I don’t feel it was right. I was going to let it go, but then my 7-year-old asked if we did wrong. It bothered me that he had thought we’d done something wrong when we had simply followed the rules you had laid out,” stated Rencher.
Part of the issue was that Rencher’s family had made numerous trips to the fairgrounds to deliver their en-tries and even though a decision had been made by the committee to exclude his daughter’s entries from judging, he had not been notified.
Board member Redgie Justman, who serves as superintendent of the Open Class, stated that she had apologized profusely to Rencher’s wife regarding the matter. “That was my fault, and I’ve already apologized. This was a decision made after discussing the matter at great length. No names were brought up, it wasn’t anything personal,” she said.
Crosby elaborated on why the age category was listed the way it was. “It’s not reasonable to assume that a 6-month-old can grow an exhibit, but what if we limit it to a 5-year-old. There may be some 4-year-olds that are perfectly capable and this allows for the consideration,” he said, adding that he would gladly draft a letter stating that there was no wrongdoing on the part of Rencher for his kids.
The board agreed that the rules were contradictory and need to be clarified. “Perhaps we need to raise the age or even create a participation-only category that would allow for entries from the younger ones. This is a family event and we want to include everyone,” said Sample.
Justman invited Rencher to take part on a committee that would clarify the rules for the open class entries and also invited him to take part on her committee for judging.
Rencher accepted the invitation and will be meeting with Justman prior to the printing of next year’s fair book.
In other business, Sample informed the board that the electrical project is still underway at the fairgrounds. He said that the entire conduit had been placed where needed, and they are waiting for Arizona Public Service Co. to install a transformer.
Sample also noted that the Navajo County Master Gardeners club had requested to be considered to work the admission gates for next year’s fair.
The Holbrook Painted Desert Kiwanis Club has assisted at the gates for many years, earning a portion of the profits from the admissions, which it puts back into the community through scholarships and other projects. The club has already submitted a sealed bid for the job and the other organization wanted to do the same.
“I lean toward the Kiwanis because they give back to the kids in the community with their earnings, but the board needs to decide if they want to accept other bids,” said Sample.
It was noted that while the Kiwanians cover two of the admissions gates, the back gate is always in need of workers and the other organization has a volunteer pool of 120 members.
The board decided to put the matter on next month’s agenda for further consideration.
Under facilities requests, the board approved the use of the grounds by Tolani Lake Roping Productions March 1-3 for its annual roping event.
The board also approved a request by the Little Colorado River Horseman’s Association to use the arena to host monthly gymkhanas for the next year.
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By Linda Kor