On a 3-2 vote, the Great Northern Fair Board Tuesday approved moving the Havre Jaycee Demolition Derby to Saturday, a spot the Northern Rodeo Association professional rodeo has held for the last two years.
The Jaycees at July’s meeting made the request, saying their competitors and audience members went up significantly this year, including with adding a new event, and could go up more with a Saturday competition. That would bring more sales to other parts of the fair including increasing food booth sales, they said.
The local and professional truck pulls, which had held the Saturday slot for years, ended after the 2012 fair, with organizers saying it had become impossible make a profit with the show.
The fair board then approved moving the rodeo from Thursday and Friday to Friday and Saturday for 2013 and this year.
The board member who has acted as liaison with the rodeo association, Gus Sharp — who said association members were in the middle of hay and grain harvesting and could not attend the meeting — asked Tuesday for the vote to be delayed so the association could speak about the move.
“Is it going to change your event if we make this decision tonight or a month or two down the road?” he asked the Jaycees, about 10 of whom attended the meeting.
Board member Missy Boucher said in the last six years the demo derby has come out ahead of the rodeo in revenue by $12,798.
“We do get a portion of that. We do need to look at our budget,” she said. “We do need that income coming in and I think that would be a good and a wise decision to move them to Saturday night for everybody.”
“Everybody wants Saturday night,” Sharp said, adding that the association members said they understand they are not the only group and were willing to discuss the time slot.
“I don’t know that this is a decision we have got to make at this meeting, but they would be willing to discuss it,” he said.
Board member Mike Arnold said when the board had decided to give Saturday to the rodeo starting in 2012, it was suggested that the association get the slot for a couple of years then the Jaycees could take the slot for a couple of years to see what they could do.
Boucher said the paperwork shows the rodeo association only made $30 more by switching to Saturday. The Jaycees, which added a bump’n’run race along with the derby this year, were up a couple of thousand, she said.
“I think that we should give … them the opportunity to have their couple of years on a Saturday night to see what they could do for us,” she said.
Sharp said he is not disagreeing and not opposed to the change, but he wanted to give the rodeo a chance to give input.
He said he is concerned that the association, which said for a few months last year it would no longer put on the rodeo before it again signed a contract, might pull out. He urged the board members and the Jaycees to encourage them to continue putting on the event.
“I dont think that will happen, but I know there have been a lot of struggles with the rodeo thing,” he said.
Boucher proposed the motion to vote, and she, Arnold and Alma Seidel voted in favor of the change, with Sharp and Scott Doney voting against.
At the meeting in July, board members discussed potentially rearranging the night shows with the junior rodeo Wednesday, the NRA rodeo Thursday and Friday, the derby on Saturday and the pig wrestling, which was in its second year this year, Sunday.