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3/6/2013 6:00:00 AM
Rodeo, motorsports backers at odds over fairgrounds
Cooperation required if fairgrounds to improve, say Mohave officials
Bryce Barnes from Las Vegas, Nev., competes in the tie-down toping event last September during the 28th Annual Andy Devine Days Rodeo at the Mohave County Fairgrounds.JC AMBERLYN/Miner
Bryce Barnes from Las Vegas, Nev., competes in the tie-down toping event last September during the 28th Annual Andy Devine Days Rodeo at the Mohave County Fairgrounds.
JC AMBERLYN/Miner
Hunter Wimpee races in the Peewee Quad event at  Mud Mayhem and Moto X Madness in January 2013.JC AMBERLYN/Miner
Hunter Wimpee races in the Peewee Quad event at Mud Mayhem and Moto X Madness in January 2013.
JC AMBERLYN/Miner

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter


KINGMAN - A long-simmering dispute about competing uses at the Mohave County Fairgrounds is coming down to dirt, money and an edict to start getting along.

Mohave County District 1 Supervisor Gary Watson threw some cold water on escalating mudslinging between rodeo and motorsports fans Monday night, telling a special meeting of the Fair Association Board that Mohave County has $50,000 available for fairgrounds improvements - as long as there's a plan for multiple uses.

"You have got to figure out a way to hold the rodeo and motorsports events. The whole idea is to increase the revenue stream," he said. "The Board is here to make sure that this becomes a multi-use facility and the money collected is put back into the facility.

"The community owns the property and the community wants more entertainment."

The rub is that both the Kingsmen, who put on the annual Andy Devine Days Rodeo, and the motorsports events coordinators want to use the area immediately in front of the grandstands.

For the Kingsmen, that would involve moving the rodeo arena 60 feet toward the grandstands, including specialized dirt that meets Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association standards to protect both livestock and riders. The goal is to entice more horse riding and rodeo events to the fairgrounds.

Motorsports event coordinators protest, though, saying that moving the arena forward would prevent them from using the grandstands because the association has told them they can't move the special dirt in the arena.

"We were told only equestrian events were allowed in the arena. We weren't even allowed to put people in there," said Jim Bell of Cerbat Motosports. "I have no issues holding our events out behind the arena, but then we can no longer use the grandstands and the fairgrounds loses out on one of its greatest sources of revenue from us."

The only thing the Kingsmen asked for was that the dirt in the arena be replaced or protected during motorsports events, said John Burgess.

"Why can't the rodeo follow the same rules that we have to?" asked Joe Webber, also from Cerbat Motosports.

Once their events are over, motorsports coordinators are required by the fair association to restore the fairgrounds to its original condition. The rodeo is not.

"I don't understand why we can't have both. I think we need both," said Jamie Taylor from Kingman Regional Medical Center.

The hospital has been a sponsor of both motorsports events and the rodeo.

"We have lots of land here," Taylor said. "We want to see a win/win situation for everyone involved."

Fair Association Board member Jon Keitz suggested folding down some of the front panels of the new rodeo arena and putting plywood over the dirt to protect it.

Dusty Lewis, who is both a rodeo and motorsports fan, said putting plywood or a tarp over the arena dirt wouldn't work and replacing the dirt after each motorsports event could be expensive.

"You're looking at a lot of money, perhaps $10,000 per event, and you can't mix the soils," he said. "It costs about $2,000 a year to process the arena for the existing rodeo."

Fair association board member Bruce Bollinger asked about erecting a temporary structure for motorsports events, an idea Bell said was "feasible."

Watson noted that the association could make improvements up to $50,000 without seeking approval from the full county Board of Supervisors.

The debate then turned to whether the association board should accept the $50,000 offer from the county.

Association board member Gerald Olsen argued that the board needed to provide the county with a business plan and a way to raise the matching funds before it could accept the money.

Keitz argued that the association should take the offer and figure out a plan to raise the matching $50,000 later.

The association board voted 8-1 to accept the money from the county.



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• Watson to Mohave County Fair Board: Just give us a plan


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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, March 9, 2013
Article comment by: kyle williams

why is it even a fight look how many events are held for the motor sports look how many people show up to watch the scramble cars every time they fiil the seats the rodeo holds one event a year why is it a fight im just saying more money for the fair grounds

Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Article comment by: Get Some Help!

Why don’t you ask Earl Hamlyn how he did it? Years ago Mr. Hamlyn brought the first motor sport event to Kingman while he was the chairman of the horse race commission. They were mud bogs on the track in front of the grandstand. Here is a guy who used the fair grounds the right way. I was at the mud bogs it was great, standing room only in the grand stands everyone had a great view. I am sure it was a success for the fair grounds.

Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Article comment by: Jack A.Lope

has anybody thought of taking a drive and seeing how other fairgrounds are doing exactly what these folks want to do. Go look at Yavapai in Prescott, and Coconino in Flagstaff. i think Williams also has that same set up.

Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Article comment by: Fairground Neighbor

Why don't you just build a new grandstand somewhere else on the property? Then you wouldn't have to remove anything and everybody would be happy.

Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Article comment by: harris stein

It seems that the sounds coming out of the motorsports backers mouths, matches the sound coming from their engines. In a word, loud. Drowning out everyone else.

So horse riders and their followers, who have thousands of years of history behind them, must give in to a few atv and motorcycle riders who have a history going back maybe a few hundred years. To me, that says it all. The rodeo should take precedence.


Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Article comment by: max gibbons

I would love to see the sand drags comeback. That brought a lot of revenue and something for the kids to enjoy. The problem is the noise but what do you expect when you live next to the fairgrounds. Ever time we get something to do it gets shut down because it is something for kids or teens.

Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Article comment by: Sante Fe Jay

Lived here for about two years now. Everytime I drive past the fairgrounds I always wonder why so much of the property is not being used. You people need to start thinking out of the box. Better yet, take a trip to California and see how some of those Counties have diversified and made their fairgrounds usefull for multiple things ALL YEAR LONG, not just for a once year, two day rodeo.

Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Article comment by: bob morris

hi everybody well i lived in small towns with fair grounds we had to different event all the time one was rodeos and a race track and two areas for the events this place is big for that build some more grand stands and a race track on the other side of the fair ground don't need special dirt only the rodeo need that come on people think plus you guy have the the small bleachers that you can move until you make money remember the rodeo been here longer we need more events this town very dead without events



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