AG 13 Board met earlier this month and sev-eral members from the Horse Race Commit-tee attended the meeting. One of the agenda items was to get a report on the Horse Races.
Chairwoman of the AG13 Board, Gayle Bar-tlett, asked for updates.
Jim Bath from the Horse Race Committee expressed how successful the horse races were this year. He also noted there were some issues, one of them being getting horses here for the races. Bath explained that Evanston, Wyoming, holds races during the same week-end and the purses exceed the amount that White Pine offers.
“The main thing in horse races, and what really pays the bills are thoroughbred rac-ing,” he said. “Our quarter horse racing, peo-ple don’t bet on as much as they do on the thoroughbred racing, quarters are great. but it takes the thoroughbred races parimutuel’s to make some money.”
Bath reported that Evanston will increase its purses. This year they gave out $570,000 in purses, and that will increase to $750, 000 in 2019 with a projected hit by a million dollars by 2020.
Wyoming’s Horse races are supplemented by the state because they don’t have legalized gambling like Nevada does, so this is a means of revenue in Wyoming.
Bath explained the other issue is that the Horse Race Committee needs more dedicated committee members, enough to really pull through.
“I made up my mind as I was going to step down as co-chairman, and Bob let me know he wanted to step down too, and it’s more than I can handle. last year took it out of me,” Bath said. Some committee members are willing to help in a limited capacity Bath noted.
The Horse Race Committee is in the process of a 501c3 to tie up their assets so they are not lost. Bath said, “We have about $70,000 in equipment. A starting gate, a groomer and other items. Our budget was $240,000 and we pulled it off for $220,000 and of that we collected $120,000 in private sponsors. So when you go out and you promise something to somebody you better be able to pull it off, you better be ale to have an event that they’ll really appreciate and it’s really an asset to the community. The amount of work that goes into this is a year-long process.”
Bath expressed to the AG13 Board that he thought he would bring it before the board to let them discuss it, and decide on what they wanted to do.
“It’s not like it’s a forever dead deal, we can come back together and there’s enough assets there that if a committee agreed, it could come together, it could be done,” he said.
“Maybe in a couple years, where the horses aren’t so hard to get.”
Kevin Robison with the Horse Race Committee was also in attendance to give his input on the issue. “I don’t think we should put a blanket on this thing. I think with the collected experience around this table, I think there are some people out in the community who are going to help, but there is going to have to be someone with knowledge of horses that are willing to put in the time, like these two gentlemen, and that’s going to be a very difficult task. I think this board, you need to consider putting together a commitee to run these horse races.”
Robison also reminded the board that it’s the boards responsibility to make sure there is a fair. “We’ve already experienced what happens when the horse races go away, the fair is going to fail. We all know that. It’s the thing that brings the people to the fair. Hearing that responsibility, I think you need to sit back and think how can we pull this back together.”
Board member Bill Panagopolous asked for a list of repairs the Horse Race Committee mentioned during the meeting. He also asked for more ideas on how to incorporate the horse races into the AG13 Board.
Jimmy Jordan, AG13 Board member, expressed concerns about the horse races, “We certainly don’t want to lose the horse races, I don’t know the first thing about how to put this together and we will definitely need help from you guys. We have to figure out a way to overcome these humps and that’s something we need to get going right away.”
Bartlett said, “This board needs to make a decision if you want to keep the horse races and if you want to pursue looking for a racing manager to take over the committee, there’s still a lot of help there’s a lot of people that will say they’ll help. The fact of the matter is you need to make a decision tonight.
Jordan noted he wasn’t sure they could make a vote that night since this was the first they had heard of it so he requested it to be placed on the January meeting’s agenda.
Martin Trout, AG13 board member, asked Bath, “Out of curiosity, do you know where it came from at the last county commission meeting that one of the commissioners told the crowd there wouldn’t be no more racing””
Bath answered Trout admitting it was him.
“Steve Stork was visiting me and I told him, I didn’t want to blind side him about what’s going on, we got some real problems, I didn’t say the horse races were through or anything like that but I pointed out to him the problem that I was having, and I wanted him to know that we had some problems, I didn’t expect him to bring it to the county commission, because it should have come to you guys first and that part was wrong.
“I sure as heck didn’t mean it to go that way, and Steve apologized to me for ever bringing it up. My apologies there, I didn’t have any intention of him bringing it to anyone.”
The next AG13 board will be Jan. 9 at 5:30 p.m. at the White Pine County Library at 950 Campton St.