Legislators work toward securing longevity of Wyoming State Fair

WYOMING – The Wyoming State Fair will live on for a while thanks to work at the state capital to ensure long-term viability of the annual event.

The Wyoming House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation Tuesday to establish a state fair endowment and matching funds account to help fund the fair for years to come.

“The Wyoming State Fair is a storied part of Wyoming’s history. It’s a celebration of the very best of Wyoming,” said the bill’s lead sponsor, Rep. Bill Henderson (HD-41). “It’s where we showcase our culture and heritage. It’s where our kids compete in rodeo. It’s where we gather as families and as an agricultural community.”

House Bill 130 (State Fair Endowment) was passed by the House of Representatives on a vote of 58-0, with two members excused. The bill now awaits further consideration in the Senate. The bill creates a sustainable source of investment earnings for the state fair while eliminating an expense on the general fund. The bill is also sponsored by Representatives Stan Blake, Aaron Clausen, Steve Harshman, Hans Hunt and Senators Fred Emerich, Larry Hicks and Glenn Moniz.

State Fair attendees watch Doc Carver’s Diving Horse jump into a pool, undated. (Ralph Doubleday)

“The State Fair we all love and enjoy today has been in the making for more than a hundred years,” Henderson said. “Now it’s our job to set the State Fair up for the next 100 years. To do that, we need to ensure the fair has a reliable source of funding now and into the future.”

The Wyoming State Legislature currently appropriates approximately $800,000 every biennium to support the State Fair. House Bill 130 would designate a minimum appropriation as seed money to start the endowment. Donations from local communities, businesses, individuals and non-profits would be matched every quarter by the Wyoming State Treasurer.

The Wyoming State Fair takes place in Douglas every summer. The 2018 State Fair will take place August 11-18.