During this morning’s County Commissioners’ meeting, Dean and Gail Bailey presented the Bourbon County Fair Board’s request for 2014 funding from the county. “In the past it’s been $12,250. I’m sure we’d be happy to get the same thing again. We know how things are,” said Dean Bailey, who recognized the budgeting constraints the county faces for the next year. Commission Chairman Allen Warren replied, “We’ve got a tough job this year, no doubt about it.”
Gail Bailey reported that entries in the Open class at the fair have risen in recent years. “There will be more premiums to pay out, which is good,” Bailey said. Dean Bailey reported that entries from 4-H and FFA had also risen.
Warren added that the baking contest, which falls under the Open class, currently has 58 entries. “King Arthur Flour has donated a number of prizes . . . The company seems to be pretty excited about being involved in the Bourbon County Fair,” Warren said. Warren said that the flour company works with wheat farmers in Kansas to produce their product, 960 bags of which the Warrens will be transporting to the Merchant Building at the fairgrounds tomorrow. The 5 pound bags of Self-Rising flour are available for free to fairgoers. Warren said that it was “a good thing to see our fair growing with both the 4-H and Open class.”
Bailey also reported that Dale George had recently placed several round straw bales to be used in the bale decoration contest along the road adjacent to the barns and rodeo arena. “It will be interesting to see who comes up with what to decorate these round bales,” Bailey said. “The limit on that’s your imagination,” Commissioner Harold Coleman added.
Bailey also reported that the George family had paid for a 40 ft extension to the Goat and Dairy barn on the fairgrounds. According to Bailey, the extension was added in memory of Bill and Doris George, who were lifetime Fair Board members. Bailey said that all of the construction was done by the Fair Board, mostly by Mark Leatherman.
Dean Bailey did have some negative news to report concerning the aftereffects of the April hailstorm, however. “The hailstorm that came through really riddled us,” Bailey said. “We’re working through that and think we’ll come through that okay.” Bailey said the Fair Board found out that their buildings were were under-insured. One building that will likely be demolished soon is the old horse barn at the southeast corner of the fairgrounds. “The roof on it was damaged, and after looking at it, [the insurance company] didn’t think it was worth putting a new roof on.” Bailey said that the board is currently considering using money from building rentals in the off season and money from insurance to build a new horse barn.
When asked about the age of the old horse barn, Doris Ericson said that the building was present when she and her family moved to the area in 1962. Ericson estimated that the barn was built in the 1950s, and that the Fair Board had considered enclosing the structure and using it for storage. Ericson said that it had since been discovered that the wooden poles supporting the structure were rotting, and the building had been deemed beyond repair. The horses are now trailered in on Sunday evening for the 4-H Horse Show, then transported away afterwards, and the champions brought back later in the week for awards, according to Ericson.