LOVINGTON — If the county commission agrees, as expected, gate admission fees and times for the 2019 Lea County Fair and Rodeo will stay the same, including free Wednesday entry.
Fair and Rodeo Board Chairman Larry Wheeler pointed out at Tuesday’s board meeting the county changed the time for this year’s fair to start charging a gate fee from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on admission charging days and he had heard no complaints.
Fairgrounds Manager Jim Kemp said, “I think it was a good move. For the patrons, it was a good move. I think for the county staff and the gate workers, it saved labor costs versus being at 1 p.m. And it didn’t affect revenue. We were up in revenue this year.”
Gate admission fees start at 5 p.m. every day but Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. On those days, admission is free all day. The gates open at 8 a.m. every day. On days that gate admission is charged, it will be $10 for adults, $5 for ages 6-12 and free for children under 6 years old.
Board Vice Chairman Trey Kerby urged no change in the fee.
“I think that’s cheap. I don’t want it to go up, but I don’t want it to go down. For what we offer, $10 is awesome,” he said. Several board members noted other counties charge $20 or more for a gate fee, sometimes charging more for other activities inside the gate, such as the rodeo and concerts.
The board voted unanimously to recommend to the commission that fees and gate times remain the same next year as they were this year. The 84th annual fair and rodeo is set for Aug. 2-10, 2019.
Noting he will present final 2018 fair data to the commission at its regular meeting next week, Kemp said the 4-H and FFA livestock showers are receiving their payments from the Sale of Champions held at the end of the fair.
The Sale of Champions brought bids totaling $487,000, Kemp said. Buyers were given 90 days to pay their winning auction bids for the livestock, with the county sending invoice reminders every 30 days.
“As of Oct. 2, outstanding is still $142,450,” he said. “We’re not quite at 60 days. That will be Oct. 15. We are better than we were last year at this time.”
The total for add-ons was $58,335, with $5,400 still outstanding on Oct. 2, Kemp said.
The board also heard a presentation from Lubbock’s Channel 13 representative Harry Harlan who provided an overview of the advertising spots purchased to encourage public participation in the 2018 Lea County Fair and Rodeo.
“You probably reached somewhere over 150,000 households over the two-week span, which is everybody in the (broadcast area),” he said.
The county’s advertising budget allowed $6,700 for television spots in Lubbock and another $1,800 for digital advertising, including EverythingLubbock.com and a special app.
In other discussion, the fair board received and examined a list of more than two dozen proposed themes for the 2019 fair, from “Dancing with the Steers” to “There’s Magic at the Fair.”
Four proposals received high marks: “Sew It, Grow It, Show It!,” “Small Town, Big Life,” “Carnival Lights and Country Nights” and “Small Town Throwdown.”
The board made no theme decision, agreeing to bring the issue back at a future meeting.