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4/28/2013 6:00:00 AM
Watson to Mohave County Fair Board: Just give us a plan
Gary Watson
Gary Watson

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - A frustrated Mohave County Supervisor made another attempt to explain that there was only one string attached to a $50,000 grant to Mohave County Fair Association during a fair board meeting Thursday evening.

"All we want is a business plan," Gary Watson said. He even brought an example of a business plan that he drew up for the fairgrounds.

The Board of Supervisors approved the grant on April 1 with the condition that the association match the grant with $50,000 of its own money and provide the county with a short- and long-range business plan.

Watson said he has been trying to get the association and the board to give the county a plan for the fairground for at least the last year. The whole point of the grant was to give the fair association additional revenue to repair the grounds and generate even more income, he said.

Fair Board Chairman Charles Cox said there was no way the association could fund all the repairs with $100,000.

According to Cox, the grant requires the association to make repairs to the rodeo arena, expand the grandstands, fix the lighting and sound systems and bring the area up to Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association standards.

"I see this going up to well over one million dollars," Cox said.

Watson agreed that making the necessary repairs to the rodeo arena might cost more than $2 million. The grant money wasn't designed to pay for the entire cost of repairs, he said.

"Let's see what we can put together for $100,000. Let's see how far we can go, but first you need to provide us with a plan," he said.

"But you have to approve everything. You're not going to put in your $50,000 until after you approve the plans," Cox said.

"You're sitting on quite a bit of cash. It's not like you have to go begging," Watson pointed out.

The association has nearly $250,000 in various bank accounts. The money is divided among 10 certificates of deposit, a money market account and a bank account. In the past, fair association officials have said the money in those accounts is reserved for emergencies.

Fair board member Ray Lyons asked if the Kingsmen were helping out with the cost of the repairs. The Kingsmen sponsor the annual Andy Devine Days rodeo at the fairgrounds every year.

"No one asked us," said Kingsmen Cody Swanty. The organization would like to hold more events at the fairgrounds and might be willing to help out, but it would need to see a business plan first.

"What would our partnership be?" Swanty asked. "What benefit would we get?"

The Kingsmen don't own the rodeo arena. They rent it from the fair association, he said. The organization isn't going to pay top dollar to rent an arena that they have to fix each time they use it. But if the association starts making improvements, he knows of many other organizations that would be interested in using the arena, Swanty said.

"I think we all need to sit down together and set out a plan," said fair board member Lori Cameron.

The fair board agreed to meet with Watson at a later date to hash out the details of a plan for improvements.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Article comment by: KNG, LHC, and BHC Would Benefit

A.N. makes a suggestion that should be considered. Let me say up front I live and own property within Kingman city limits and have NO interest in Yucca. However I think Mohave County and its 3 cities would benefit from placing many services at a central location - new well-planned fairgrounds, regional airport, 4-yr university, even a major shopping complex and industrial park would benefit all offering easy access to all 200,000 citizens. Retailers would be interested opening stores for 200,000 customers, airlines would be interested, manufacturers would be interested, etc. Now before the naysayers start screaming about how much it would damage Kingman, BHC, and LHC these city governments could think outside the box and develop an intergovernmental agreement that shares costs and profits/benefits. Will it happen? Nah, we'll just keep muddling along - holding on to our little kingdoms while fighting to keep the others down.

Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

“… buy and build up property in Golden Valley for a far superior County fairgrounds that serves ALL of Mohave County!”

How about building it in Yucca so it is more accessible to ALL of Mohave County?

Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Article comment by: dv s

Gary, keep up the good work.....Fair Board has been a disaster for years...maybe time for a whole new one....???
Been saying that for years....

How would we go about that...??

Posted: Monday, April 29, 2013
Article comment by: Answering Just Wondering

Just W., Dr. Lingerfelter offered the county something like 300 acres near the airport if the county would build a road. Obviously it would benefit Lingerfelter since it would open up the land he owns out there. However it is a reasonable offer that, if we had a progressive county government would look at selling off the existing fairgrounds and building the road. But then again, the politicians suffer from Republicanism - don't invest in our future.

Posted: Monday, April 29, 2013
Article comment by: citizen usa

First of all, the MCFA is not a County Dept. They are a private business just like any other, and stepped up to the plate to keep your fairgrounds open when the county kicked it to the curb. Second of all, Gary Watson came to the Board to spend $50,000.00 of the peoples money to build a rodeo arena. The MCFA did not go to him, and they certainly did go out begging. The grounds and buidlings did not get this way overnight. It has been decades of poor management. The Board has ridden itself of the poor management that plagued it, and the the Fairgrounds is looking good with the team in place that wants to do the work to succeed and be proud of it. They are booked just about every week-end. And lastly, the money the MCFA has in the bank is a rainy day fund. They are 1 1/2 fairs away from being broke, but how the heck would anyone know that if you don't know anything about running a fair. You need to leave the fairgrounds alone and see how it succeeds with this new team. The minute the vultures found out that there was an emergency fund to keep the doors open in case of disaster and they came sworming in!!! Don't be fooled by the special interest groups out there that are using their own power and the media to feed their own agendas. Kingman, Come to these meetings! Listen to what is being said, and learn the truth. The meetings are every 3rd Thursday at the fairgrounds office @ 7:00pm. The MCFA Board and the new staff, are doing everything possible to clean the mess from the previous decades has left behind. It cannot be done overnight. Give them a chance, have you been to the fairgrounds lately, You can see the change not only by the looks of the fairgrounds, but by the attitude this new team has. And by the way, every dime that the County has granted the MCFA can be accounted for plus some. Don't let BOS or the media lead you to believe, the MCFA has anything to hide. They don't.

Posted: Sunday, April 28, 2013
Article comment by: My Vote

My vote would be to sell the existing fairground and use that $250,000.00, along with the money you make from the sale to buy and build up property in Golden Valley for a far superior County fairgrounds that serves ALL of Mohave County!

Posted: Sunday, April 28, 2013
Article comment by: Errol Pherigo

It can be done.

Posted: Sunday, April 28, 2013
Article comment by: Rick Sherwood

Would appear that maybe a new Fair Board is in order. How did this one get picked? Who are they? and , Why wouldn't you want a business plan? If you don't know where you're going, how do you know you've arrived?

Posted: Sunday, April 28, 2013
Article comment by: Just Wondering

Why keep putting money into fairgrounds that, with it's design, will generate limited income. Why not build a facility that would suit multiple needs. A convention center could be used to draw concerts, meetings and trade shows. An outdoor arena could be built to accommodate rodeos or dirt track racing or things of this nature. Start with finding a new location.

Posted: Sunday, April 28, 2013
Article comment by: Gary Doesn't Need to Do the Board's Work

Gary, you should have never agreed to sit down to "hash out the details". What kind of board members do we have running our fair grounds that they need additional hand holding when asked to present a basic business plan. Business plan development courses are available from MCC, the SBA, and even free online. Gary, you need to go in to this so-call "hash out meeting" with a list of sources to develop a business plan and hand each member a copy and leave.

Posted: Sunday, April 28, 2013
Article comment by: Sounds Like We Need Board Members Willing To Work

It looks like this group expects everyone else to do their work or to just give them money. Get off your behinds and write up a business plan. Get off your butts and draw up a list of events and companies/groups that might rent the fair grounds. Stop thinking some how the work is going to get done.

Posted: Sunday, April 28, 2013
Article comment by: No Way

Thanks, Gary, You're sitting on $250k and you want more from us. No.

Posted: Sunday, April 28, 2013
Article comment by: Fair Board, Tryy to be Creative in Your Plans (assuming you have some)

Well Chairman Cox, your choices are:
1. leave things as they are to further deteriorate
2. prioritize what can be done with the $100k (seeing that you're able to raise your share
3. develop additional revenue sources to raise the other $900,000 you feel is needed (take a lesson from The Movies owners).

Posted: Sunday, April 28, 2013
Article comment by: Frank Harris

Good job, Gary. I have seen too many times when the local government has given groups money for what is promised just to have the group dissolve or not follow through with their promises. Then the government entity is pressured to do something. It approaches the group and the group basically denies the strings. Stay on it, Gary. We want a plan showing what they plan on doing with the money, who is involved, what accounting practices will be used, and a complete layout of anticipated expenses and revenues.

Posted: Sunday, April 28, 2013
Article comment by: Robert Lane

a supervisor standing up for the peoples
money ! Mr. Watson, thank you for making it clear to the fair board that all money will be accounted for and since they do not have any and all pacific plans, lets get rid of all the old board which has never impressed the people before put took money .Lets have our new BOS vet this board and bring in new people that have pride .The fair board by their own words have said they do not have a clue but just send money !!! The good old boys are at it again !

Posted: Sunday, April 28, 2013
Article comment by: Patriot WES

Gee, once again I know why I didn't vote for Gary Watson.

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