2009 Wyoming State Fair a ‘solid event’Written by Christy Hemken
Douglas – Concerning the 2009 Wyoming State Fair, Fair Director James Goodrich says the preliminary numbers show the crowds that traveled to the state fairgrounds in Douglas were very good and about even with 2008.
“Our daily gate appears to be up about 10 percent from last year, and our numbers were very good at the midway and livestock events,” says Goodrich. “For the most part our vendors did a good deal of business.”
He says the vendor credentials for parking and season passes roughly doubled from last year, and that season camping was up substantially. “Operationally, we knew the campground was very full, and the recent improvements could have had something to do with that, and the fact that people were budgeting and camping instead of staying in hotels.”
Despite substantial increases in some areas, Goodrich says they were balanced in others with a decline in season pin purchases and season meals at the cafeteria, although daily meals at the cafeteria were up.
Goodrich says ticketed events were also a mixed picture, with some up and some down. “The ranch rodeo, miniature bull riding and chuck wagon races were down some, and the concert was down a little bit compared to last year but it still went very well and had a good crowd,” he says.
The PRCA rodeo remained steady in attendance, with a slight decline in bull riding Thursday night.
Regarding 4-H and FFA participation in livestock shows, Goodrich says the solid count is not yet in, but a general trend shows beef cattle numbers were up, as were lambs and goats, with hogs down slightly.
“Overall that translates to an increase in entries across all livestock,” he notes. “We weren’t overcrowded in the livestock barns, but they were full.”
Goodrich says the showrings new this year were one of the biggest highlights. “We got a lot of compliments on the showrings, and they were utilized very well,” he comments, noting that scheduling between the goat and sheep shows will have to be worked out for next year. “With the increase in goat entries we need to adjust for increased numbers in 2010.”
The Mustang Challenge was held for the second time this year in the horse barn arena. “The Mustang Challenge saw a decrease in attendance from last year, but it was a good crowd,” says Goodrich, noting there weren’t as many horses and trainers this year and the auction following the event didn’t bring in the high dollars of the initial competition. “They still got them all sold and adopted out,” he notes.
New this year to the State Fair was the Murray Grey cattle show, whose participants were pleased with the event, says Goodrich. “My hope is they continue to hold the show here and give it a chance to grow,” he says. “Quite a few of them came from a long distance away, with quite a commitment and expense. They had a solid show and their numbers were good with a decent crowd.”
The Murray Grey cattle were on display in two full aisles in the beef cattle barn alongside the other open and youth beef cattle.
The same declines and increases were typical for different aspects of the 2009 exhibits. “Floriculture and horticulture entries were up substantially, while some areas of the 4-H static exhibits were down,” says Goodrich, adding that the state hay show was down, which was expected for this year.
The demonstration featuring the construction of a high tunnel drew a lot of interest, according to Goodrich, and it now stands on the old dairy show ring lawn next to the Ag and Natural Resources Building. “The demonstrator had a lot of requests for information, and now the high tunnel will be on permanent display for a number of years to come,” he explains. “If we can we’ll probably use it for plants that will be used here on the ground to make it an active demonstration.”
Goodrich calls the 2009 Wyoming State Fair a “good solid event overall” as the fairgrounds facilities look toward fall and a Senior Pro Rodeo in late August and the state FFA leadership conference this fall.