By Linda Kor
Pinetop resident Steve Gouker was elected to the Navajo County Fair Board last week, filling a vacancy created by the recent resignation of Susan Henning-Shaw. Gouker, who is a teacher and wrestling coach at Blue Ridge High School, has been an active volunteer for the county fair in the past.
The theme for this year’s fair will be Western Nights Under Midway Lights, which are now operating on a new electrical system with the completion of a project by Arizona Public Service Co. The only electrical work that remains is in the small arena, where new poles will be put in place. The only concern with that project is the height of the poles, which President Mike Sample is addressing with the county. “The issue is that they plan to replace the poles with aluminum poles that I think will be cut down too short. Since it’s in the arena, we’ll need them taller so that they won’t cast shadows,” explained Sample, who plans to meet with county officials to discuss the matter in the near future.
As the board gears up for the 82nd year of the fair, each director is submitting budgets as they review the events they oversee. With the number of people who attend the fair increasing each year, there are several areas looking to expand their offerings.
Rusty DeSpain informed the board that he intends to add a Ranch Bronc Riding competition to the venue for the Ranch Rodeo and would like to add some more events to the Little Buckaroo Rodeo. He does not expect the additions to increase the budgeted amounts for those programs.
While not all reports are in, the budgets for the various departments are expected to be similar to those of last year.
Sample reported that the Tolani Lake Roping event held two weekends ago brought a large crowd to the fairgrounds and added revenues to the community. “I spoke with a couple of business owners who said that they hadn’t received that much business since the fair. This event is a great event for the community,” he noted. This is the third year that the roping event has been held at the fairgrounds since moving from its original location at Tolani Lake due to the large crowds that it attracts.
In other business March 7, the board approved a facilities request for May 1 by North Country HealthCare for its annual Women’s Day In May.
Also approved was a $3,800 contract with 2 Much Fun Entertainment for audio service for the fair, plus lodging and advertising.
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By Linda Kor