CUSTER COUNTY—The county is buzzing with anticipation as the 2018 county fair approaches. The Custer County Fairgrounds in Broken Bow has been undergoing countless renovations and improvements throughout the last year from painting to new construction. Custer County Ag Society (CCAS) Secretary Scott Reynolds said it is fun to see the much needed progress, but that it’s not over yet!
“Well it’s kind of fun to be on the fair board right now. In my opinion, we have an awesome fair board to work with, great staff. JJ and crew, Milt, and Michelle—they’re all working together as a team and we as a board are kind of just staying involved too,” Reynolds said.
“You know, like you said, we have had a lot of projects going on out there and it’s nice to see those improvements. They’ve needed to happen for the last 20-30 years and now just because of some things that happened; obviously August 11 and 12 kind of changed some game plans in a big hurry. But please, people, don’t think we’re done yet. There’s going to be a lot more happening on the east end–the livestock end–come after fair. We ran out of time and couldn’t get it all done!”
Reynolds told KCNI/KBBN the new stall barn is complete and features lightning and an open air flow. He and the board are grateful to the Elks Club for donating time and construction to the new park shelter, to the Custer County Foundation for funds going toward new picnic tables, and to the Rotary Club for the 90-foot tall flag pole that he hopes will be completed in the next month.
New lights have been installed at the Trotter Arena as well, thanks to the work of Custer Electric. Reynolds said the goal of all these improvements is to benefit future generations of fairground users and that it has been years since any major construction has been done.
During the July 12 Ag Society meeting, the CCAS voted to request a 2.5% increase of the tax authority funding from the Custer County Board of Supervisors. The CCAS also voted to request an additional 1% increase. According to rules of property tax requests, an entity like the Ag Society can request up to 3.5% per year (as described in the July 12 meeting minutes.)
This would bring the total requested amount to approximately $159,388 that the Ag Society will be requesting from the county supervisors. Reynolds said the money received from the county goes mostly toward insurance and payroll and that other daily expenses depend on events held at the fairgrounds.
Reynolds and Events Manager Michelle Nelson said the CCAS aims to stretch all of the dollars received at the fairgrounds as far as they will go. CCAS will present its budget request at the August 14 meeting of the Custer County Board of Supervisors.
Also at the July meeting, CCAS approved the use of approximately $75,000 for capital improvements to benefit the fairgrounds from the unused fund authority. The CCAS approved a contract with the Mid States Rodeo Association to guarantee the Mid States Rodeo Finals will be held at the Custer County Fairgrounds for the next five years (through 2022).
“Right now, fair is the main focus and we’ll be busy for the next week and a few days. There’s a lot going on during fair and I hope people come out and see what we have out there; the exhibits, the open class, the 4-H, all their animals, the horses, everything,” Nelson said.
Nelson announced that open class exhibits will be under the grandstands this year (previously in Ag Hall which is currently leaking and has other safety concerns). 4-H exhibits will still be in the Exhibit Hall–Building 13. Ag Society members have been hard at work to prepare for this year’s festivities in support of local students, whom Reynolds describes as the salt of the earth.
“Those kids that are out there exhibiting their projects—whether it’s clothing, baking, or livestock, or horses, whatever—them kids are just the salt of the earth. That’s the kids we want to keep in the Custer County Area. I think that’s why we work so hard as a fair board and a community supporting the 4-H and FFA projects is because of those kids,” Reynolds said.