KINGMAN – James Guillot announced his resignation as manager of Mohave County Fairgrounds at Wednesday’s fair board meeting, effective Dec. 31, after holding the position since 2012.
“I’m not stepping down because of ill will for the fairgrounds,” Guillot said after the meeting. “I wish the best for the fairgrounds. I think right now my presence is not a good situation because I’ve been a distraction. I cater to the entire city, not a select few.”
Some people on the Mohave County Fair Association board have made unfair accusations against Guillot and tried to “smear” him in an attempt to take over the fairgrounds and use it only for horse events and rodeos, an informed source told the Daily Miner.
“They would like to get rid of the motocross and any other event that isn’t horse-related. The fair cannot survive with just horse events,” the source said.
Guillot said horse equipment was purchased with money that was supposed to be allocated to the Mohave County Fair Association for capital improvement projects, upkeep and maintenance.
Fair board member Jamie West, presiding over the meeting in the absence of chairman Charles Cox, said Guillot was doing “one hell of a job” running the fairgrounds and bringing in events such as the Monster Truck Show coming in November.
“There are certain forces at work that have been after his job for a long time because, I believe, the county wishes to close the fairgrounds, and I also think they wish to move people into slots that run this place,” West said. “I believe the county wants greater influence over operations of this place, even though it’s a lease agreement.”
Mohave County Fair Association has been under fire for a number of years to improve the grounds it leases for $1 a year.
The board ceased its $25,000 annual allocation to the fairgrounds in 2012 because of what Supervisor Gary Watson called “lollygagging” by fair board directors, saying they’re going to do this and that and never getting around to it.
Guillot rattled off a number of improvements made at the fairgrounds, including a $60,000 bathroom that meets ADA standards.
And he’s been filling the fairgrounds’ calendar with events nearly every weekend, adding the Rude 66 Car Show and Music Festival to the schedule last weekend.
The mission statement of the Mohave County Fair Association goes beyond hosting the annual Andy Devine Days Rodeo put on by the Kingsmen. The mission is to enrich the lives of Mohave County residents by accommodating a “diverse array of events, which may include equine events, motorsports, rodeo, concerts, stage shows, festivals, BMX events, paintball activities and private events.”
West said there’s a “great deal more” that can be done at the fairgrounds, but the board can’t implement everything it wants to do without proper funding.
The fair board voted to go forward with the Monster Truck event in November, and will advise the Kingsmen to remove the “sacred” dirt that was brought in as required by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association for the Andy Devine Days rodeo.
There will be no crushing of cars or vans by the Monster Trucks, even though that’s what people like to see, to avoid leaving shards of metal and glass buried in the arena dirt.