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Half The Battle Is Won

On Nov. 18, I attended a meeting in Douglas about our State Fair with some interested people and Governor Matt Mead, along with the Wyoming Department of Agriculture director and staff, and the director of the State Fair. Some viewed it as a venue to offer their views on what is wrong with the present state fair, and that was good, as the Governor was there to listen. Others, myself included, were looking for opportunities to improve state fair and looking to figure out how to go about making those changes.

First, those involved in state government and the State Fair need to take the criticisms seriously. Citizens providing suggestions are most likely right, and the people expressing them have a passion for the State Fair. We need those folks.  Now, as with most issues, there are numerous sides, as James Goodrich, director of the Wyoming State Fair stated, but a criticism always has roots somewhere, and those problems need to be addressed.  

In the bigger picture, we need to have a vision for the Wyoming State Fair. What do we want it to look like in five to 10 years and how do we get there? What road do we take to meet the goals we want for a state fair?  

There are many roads to take, so who decides what the correct road is? Senator Jim Anderson from Glenrock thought that the State Fair Advisory Board, with input from everyone throughout the state, would be the proper group to do the job. No one disagreed, but some advisory board members may not wish to get into the planning process, and that’s alright – a planning process can be a grueling task, but someone has to do it.  

Governor Mead, in his opening remarks, stated that he thinks that the Wyoming State Fair should showcase Wyoming agriculture. That was music to my ears. I thought right then that half the battle is won and hats off to Governor Mead for those remarks. 

A few of the positive aspects of our State Fair include 4-H and FFA member involvement, the extensive livestock shows and many other events involved. These aspects attract family members and others to the fair, creating a passion in them for state fair throughout their lives and attracts sponsors. If an energy corporation wants to sponsor part of state fair, the 4-H and FFA programs are a safe place to spend money.  

There are numerous other positives about our State Fair. There are some great new barns on the grounds, but they need some improvements to be more flexible for other events throughout the year and during State Fair. There is an energy boom in Converse County that, while resulting in a handful of negative impacts to the State Fair, also has positive impacts. If a boom wasn’t in progress, a number of donations and sponsorships wouldn’t be available. Of course, the biggest upside I found in Governor Mead’s remarks was when he said we need someone in state government to lead the charge, along with Senator Jim Anderson.

We need to take this opportunity to develop a vision for the Wyoming State Fair very seriously. We may not get another chance.