State Fair Board makes deal to keep track for 2024

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The Kansas State Fair Board voted unanimously to rescind the motion to demolish the racetrack at the fair and to make a deal with Mel Hambleton Ford for the 2024 racing season.

“After two meetings with the race committee concerning the proposals that we were presented on the Kansas State Fair Grandstand track, it is our recommendation to the Kansas State Fair Board to enter into a one year license agreement with Mel Hambleton Ford Racing,” said committee chair and Fair Board member Dylan Evans. “We’re going to propose a fee structure that is $7500 per single race event date, when the attendance is 3000 people and above, $6250 per single race event date when the attendance is 2999 or below. In the case of a two-day show, the second date will be $2500. In the case of a rainout, the cost would be $3125. If a make up date is held, the amount will be credited towards the rental amount, which will total either the $6250 or the $7500, depending on the race attendance.”

The motion also said that the Fair Board will decline the offer from C. Ray Hall to continue to run the Hutchinson Nationals. The official agreement still needs to be drawn up by state staff and it will need board approval and they will have to set up a special meeting to do that approval once the contract is drawn up.

“We’re so late to the game, some of those dates are doubled up on some of the other tracks with Salina and Hays,” Phil Nightingale said. “I’m going to have to work some dates out with Salina and Hays. I do not want to run on top of Salina, because I think that will just spread our car count out. I don’t think that will effect our audience in Hutch vs. Salina. I just don’t want to lose the car count.”

Nightingale will be working on the wall and on the track surface, but that won’t happen until the official agreement is approved and signed. With the moisture we have received, it will likely be a few weeks before that can get done anyway, so there is time to get all the legal language worked out first.

“The dates that we proposed were not on top of any livestock or horse shows,” said General Manager Bryan Schulz. “If they were, it was a Saturday show. The horses would be coming in Friday night. If the board approves this, we will make sure that Nathan or whoever takes over that position reaches out to those individuals right away.”

The Fair Board will notify the media when the special meeting is held for the official contract approval once the legal language is finalized.

As reported on Hutch Post

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