CUSTER COUNTY–Although the annual Winter Ball was held just a few weeks ago, the Custer County Fair and Mid-States Rodeo will be back before we know it. The Custer County Ag Society (fair board) held its monthly meeting on February 10 at the fairgrounds to discuss events and projects taking place this year.
Grounds manager JJ Martin said he has been replacing and strengthening bleachers. Administrator Michelle Nelson said March will start a busy season at the fairgrounds with upcoming ropings, fundraisers, and barrel racing events.
The board discussed several items pertaining to this year’s county fair which will be held July 29 through August 4. Michelle Nelson said she has already been receiving calls for camper spots during the fair; selection will open the first Saturday of May. The board discussed making some changes to the vendor booths and displays under the grandstands due to a lack of traffic.
A motion was approved changing the fair release time for horses from Thursday morning to Wednesday at 5 p.m. the week of the county fair.
This year’s fair concert will be held on Saturday, July 30 at 8 p.m. following the parade at 6 p.m. The board decided to “go big” on booking entertainment. Michelle Nelson was given approval to book an artist that costs around $30,000 rather than $15,000 in hopes that a Saturday night concert will draw a larger crowd and additional sponsorships.
A big conversation regarding the Mid-States Rodeo Finals, which will be held at the Custer County Fairgrounds September 17-19, took place with representatives from the organization. The event has been successfully held in Broken Bow the last several years but the fair board took a loss of $6,000 last year. The board talked about making some changes to the weekend and “cutting the frills” in order to continue hosting the event while still breaking even financially. The board agreed the event brings lots of people and money to the area. Bids for 2023-2024 need to be submitted mid-year.
The recent state audit went smoothly according to Nelson. Conversation included a mower and checks dating back to 2011 that have not been cleared. The board discussed the costs vs. benefits of pursing the penalties and interests that the fair board has paid to the IRS and Department of Revenue following local accountant issues.
The board has paid $8,636.18 in penalties and interest. The auditors’ suggestion is to find a lawyer to pursue the issues and/or ask for the accounting fees to be paid back. Some board members felt it was not worth the money to hire lawyers but tax payers have inquired about the situation, according to President Kent Nelson. Administrator Michelle Nelson will continue looking into the situation.
The board also discussed improving WiFi at the fairgrounds and replacing grandstand and stall barn garage doors for about $9,666. The beef weigh-in was held earlier in February.