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Board welcomes manager, reviews 2017 fair

by Jordon Bennett
for the Burns Times-Herald

The Harney County Fair Board met Tuesday, Dec. 12, in the Memorial Building at the Harney County Fairgrounds. During the meeting, the board covered the introduction/welcoming of the new manager, Jordon Bennett, and a review of finances from the 2017 fair. Also discussed were contracts and requirements for carnival, rodeo, racing, and vendors. The board voted to retain Interim Manager Rick Paul as a consultant. The meeting concluded with a review of the strategic planning meeting from Dec. 8, and LRS Architects coming to Harney County to develop a facility improvement plan.

Bennett was introduced to the public as the new fair manager. His first official day was Monday, Dec. 11.

Former Interim Manager Rick Paul provided a review of the financial report from the 2017 fair. Overall, the fair had a profit of $40,000. The report was broken down into 10 major sections: demolition derby, race meet, rodeo, premium books, play day, booths/vendors, midway entertainment, gate, headline concert, and miscellaneous.

Bennett presented a proposed contract from Funtime Carnival out of Payette, Idaho, to provide carnival entertainment for the next three years. Funtime has been signed by Malheur, Crook, and Grant counties to provide carnival entertainment. The board liked and agreed to the financial terms of the contract. However, after the issues with the carnival the last two years, the  board is very leery about signing a new vendor to a three-year contract, sight unseen. The board would like to try to sign into an evergreen contract that allows both parties to terminate the contract before Jan. 1 of each year.

Board President Karen Moon went over the discussion points of the strategic planning work session on Friday, Dec. 8. Topics included fair finances, rodeo expenses and membership, security issues, communication between board members and committees, vendor contracts, and general facility and equipment upgrades. The next strategic planning work session is set for Friday, Jan. 5, 2018.

Paul contacted LRS Architects out of Portland to determine whether they would be able to come review the facilities at the fairgrounds. Steven Mileham, a principal architect for the firm, agreed to visit Harney County in January to review facilities. His initial visit to Harney County is free of charge.

The board was presented with five pages worth of potential themes for the 2018 fair theme. Each board member must have a top five ready for the next board meeting.

The next board meeting was set for Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, at 6 p.m. in the Memorial Building at the Harney County Fairgrounds.

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