Julie Gray, Director of the Mason County Rodeo took the bull by the horns and wrestled it to the ground. Gray submitted a proposal to Port of Shelton’s Executive John Dobson to rent the fairgrounds for the week of the 2014 Rodeo. Gray’s proposal includes removal of all rodeo equipment from the fairgrounds within 60 days of the end of the 2014 Rodeo. And the rodeo would not request to lease the fairgrounds again. Dobson sent Grays proposal to the FAA which was given approval for this year’s event. Tagging onto that approval was the Mason Area Fair; Dobson included the fair in the same agreement.
The news of the approval came just in time for the start of the joint meeting between the Mason County Board of Commissioners, the Skookum Rotary Foundation’s Event Center Committee and the Port of Shelton Commissioners. This joint meeting was to gain agreement on what actions could be taken to save the remaining community events for 2014, including the most profitable event - Oysterfest. The actions taken by Gray and the approval from the FAA for the Fair and Rodeo took most the wind out of the sails of the meeting, but did not solve the issues with the Oysterfest for 2014 and beyond, nor did it do anything to bring back the numerous events that have been lost during all the turmoil regarding the community’s inability to come to agreement on the use (or replacement) of the fairgrounds.
The Skookum Rotary Foundation team has been working with other community members to determine a location, requirements to support community events and funding.
The proposal utilized by the Rodeo, does not work for Oysterfest, as it covers only one year, and not the 2-4 years required to build or find a new location. Oysterfest alone brings in over $200k in sale revenues to the county. The money stays in the county and supports numerous non-profit organizations.
May 7, 2014/KMAS News
IMAGE/Port of Shelton Commissioner, Dick Taylor; Julie Gray, Director of the Mason County Rodeo; and Port of Shelton Executive Director, John Dobson.