Rodeo agreement up for vote

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

An agreement is in place that would allow the Curry County Mounted Patrol use of the county fairgrounds arena for the Pioneer Days Rodeo.

The Curry County Commission will vote today on a proposal in which a scoreboard the Mounted Patrol purchased three years ago for about $10,000 will be exchanged for renting the arena for three days.

The proposed agreement is valid for one year and the patrol will have to negotiate another agreement for its 2009 rodeo either with the county or with a firm the county will hire to manage the facility, Interim County Manager Lance Pyle said.

Mounted Patrol rodeo committee member Bob Lacy met with Pyle over the course of three weeks to hammer out a deal, according to Pyle.

“This is a very important event for Curry County; it’s a tradition,” Pyle said. “It’s great for the community, it’s also great for our local businesses.”

Mounted Patrol members approved the agreement during a meeting last week, according to Lacy.

“We’re satisfied,” he said. “It’s something we can live with.”

The rental agreement for use of multiple fairgrounds facilities for the rodeo is $2,125.

The Mounted Patrol and county have been at odds over use of the arena since the county started strictly enforcing the fairground’s lease agreements earlier this year.

The county started requiring all organizations pay for use of all fairground facilities and a $1 million liability insurance policy.

Mounted Patrol members wanted the county to continue a 30-year agreement allowing the free use of the arena in exchange for labor.

Fairgrounds manager Justus Anderson said usage fees vary from $150 to $450 a day.

Lacy said the patrol could not afford the cost of renting the facility.

“We were close to the point of not having a rodeo,” he said. “We just wanted a gentleman’s agreement.”

Pyle said County Attorney Steve Doerr has reviewed the agreement and found it compliant with anti-donation laws.

The Mounted Patrol is four months behind on rodeo organization, according to Lacy.

“We’re just behind on getting our bid proposals,” he said. “Hopefully, there’s not any conflict with producers and people like that we have to work with.”