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Thu, April 25

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

Gary Watson

Gary Watson

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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