Shortly before the 2017 Kiowa County Fair and Rodeo got underway, the Kiowa County Fair Board received a pleasant, unexpected and much deserved award from the Colorado Pro Rodeo Association.
As part of the “Best Fair and Rodeo” category of CPRA’s awards, Kiowa County was presented with the “Large Purse” award, an honor given to those groups fair boards who, within a certain category, raise the most money over and above the entry fees paid by contestants and subsequently awarded to rodeo winners.
“It’s really an honor to be recognized by the CPRA,” said Bart Michaels, President of the Fair Board. “We strive to offer the largest purse we can, and we’re really grateful to those people in the community for all their support. This couldn’t happen without
the additional donations they make.”
The CPRA was originally organized in 1975. Its mission: to promote a more professionally oriented rodeo circuit in Colorado. Now, more than 40 years later, the CPRA is the leading rodeo association in the state and has grown from 5 sanctioned events in 1975 to thirty rodeos per years with a membership that numbers 600 and counting. The CPRA also co-sanctions many rodeos with associations located in Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, New Mexico and Texas.
Membership to the Kiowa County Fair Board is made through appointment by the Kiowa County Commissioners who are also ultimately responsible for overseeing the board’s performance. The Board of Commissioners also allocate a certain amount of their budget each year to fair operations.
However, when it comes to event planning, resource building, promotions, marketing, fund raising (which is needed every year), vendor recruitment, monitoring to ensure compliance with all regulations—not the least of which is CPRA, daily operations, countless coordination between different groups and associations, and additional tasks too numerous to mention but all leading up to that week of September every year, the Fair Board functions, to a very large degree, as an independent entity.
As should be obvious, the individuals who comprise the Kiowa County Fair Board devote literally hundreds and hundreds of hours every year to putting on the very best event they possibly can, a fact that is even more exceptional given that they are all volunteers.
That doesn’t even address the immeasurable benefit Kiowa County receives from all the good PR the fair and rodeo brings each year or the very measurable increase in business that business owners experience as a result of the event, as well.
So, their being presented with the “Large purse award” by the CPRA is the very least of the recognition that members of the Fair Board deserve. Without their diligence and commitment to the event, well, let’s be honest. The event probably wouldn’t happen, or if it did not for long and not as well.
And that deserves a good slap on the back and a round of applause from all of us who look forward to the event each year. People willing to put in that kind of intensive labor simply for the love of rodeo don’t exactly grow on trees.
Members of the Fair Board include: President Bart Michaels, Vice-President Scotty Englehardt, Secretary Terrell Lessenden, Treasurer Areta Laird and board members Raelynn Riley, Barbara Scranton and Andrew McCracken.