The Garfield County Fair & Rodeo Board recently expanded to include nine members, the maximum called for by its current bylaws.
The fair board and county staff work all year to plan and stage the Garfield County Fair, slated for Aug. 4-10. The current fair board recommended four new members to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) March 17. The commissioners approved John “Brock” Hedburg, Kelly Porter, Rick Shaffer and Doug Teter. Porter, Shaffer and Teter completed new member orientation and served in their first official fair board meeting April 8. Hedburg will soon follow.
These four members join President Levy Burris, Vice President Cody Smith, Secretary Courtney Jenkins, longtime member Eileen Sheets and Donna Marye, who joined in January 2014, to complete the group.
“I wanted to thank all of our new members for volunteering,” said County Manager Andrew Gorgey. “We have not had so many, nine members, in recent years, and they are qualified and have been approved through an extensive application and interview process.”
Board members are responsible for fiscal and policy decisions pertaining to the fair and its programs and make a multi-year commitment to the board. Members serve three-year terms that start and end on Oct. 15. One-third of the board seats are open each year.
New fair board members go through an orientation and attend one full fair board meeting before they are eligible to vote. Conducted by Garfield County Fair & Events Coordinator Doreen Herriott and Gorgey, the orientation covers the mission and bylaws, the role of fair board members, the fair’s traditions, and the BOCC, county staff and ethics and best practices.
Herriott, a former fair board member herself, is now a county employee in her first year managing fair operations and other county events. Together the fair board, county administration, partners such as CSU Extension and 4-H and scores of volunteer and community leaders manage the fair and its year-round programs.
Hedburg, owner of Hy-Way Feed & Ranch Supply in Silt, will serve through Oct. 15. Porter, former 4-H participant, and Teter, former 4-H and FFA member, as well as a 4-H parent for the past five years, will each serve through Oct. 15, 2015.
Shaffer, a business owner from New Castle, and previous participant in the Adams County Fair, will serve through Oct. 15, 2016. Marye is new to the area, and wanted to serve on the board for its youth development and citizen education, and her term ends Oct. 15.
The terms are staggered to provide continuity of operations and preserve institutional memory.
“Two years ago we struggled to get even two members to be on the board,” said Garfield County Commissioner Mike Samson, when appointing the new members. “I thank the past and current board members for doing a tremendous amount of work to raise the standards of the fair. I want to thank each of the new board members for their coming service, my hats off to them. It is a great tradition, and we will continue to build upon it.”
The BOCC also approved the design phase for 2014 improvements of the Garfield County Fairgrounds. The improvements are the second phase of a county project with a total 2014 budget of $2.8 million.
The first phase cost approximately $900,000 for paving, landscaping, sidewalk construction, irrigation, storm drainage infrastructure, fencing, and lighting improvements. This year’s improvements include extending the existing indoor arena, adding more stalls, sound system and kitchen enhancements, and technology upgrades.
The commissioners and county staff received input from several community input sessions that took place last fall, from fairgrounds staff, fair board members, and a consultant to determine the best direction to take to improve the fairgrounds for all users.