Fair Board cancels monster truck show

By Kyle Shaner - kshaner@sidneydailynews.com

SIDNEY – The Shelby County Fair Board canceled the monster truck show that was planned for the 2021 Fair after the Renegade Monster Truck Tour said it would reduce the show from two nights to one night.

The monster truck show originally was scheduled for the 2020 Shelby County Fair but was postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 show would have been July 25 and 26, the Sunday and Monday of the Fair, but Renegade Monster Truck Tour booked another show on July 24 and 25.

With the show now only available on July 26, Jake Yinger from the Entertainment Committee suggested canceling it during Wednesday’s monthly Fair Board meeting. He said it would take a lot of work to prepare for the monster trucks, and it wouldn’t be worth the hassle for just one show.

He also said getting dirt hauled in and out of the Fairgrounds would be more difficult than initially anticipated, and the high cost of scrap metal would make it difficult to get cars to smash. A single day show also would significantly increase the risk of the entire show being canceled because of rain.

By canceling the contract, the Fair Board will lose its $2,000 deposit. However, Yinger said that’s a better option than committing to spend thousands more to proceed with the show.

“I think we may need to just pull the plug on it because of how things have turned out,” he said. “There is a $2,000 nonrefundable deposit that we would lose, but at this stage of the game I’m thinking losing $2,000 is better than paying out another $14,500 for something that may not go very well.”

Fair Board members suggested they shouldn’t lose the deposit because Renegade Monster Truck Tour was breaking its agreement to host a two-day show. However, President Eric Garber said the contract rollover to 2021 was done by a verbal agreement, limiting the Fair Board’s potential recourse.

“We will try to get at least part of it back, but he seemed very reluctant when I talked to him,” Secretary Bill Clark said.

Yinger suggested the Fair Board could pursue drag racing trucks as an alternative to the monster trucks.

Also during Wednesday’s meeting, the Fair Board discussed what penalty, if any, Junior Fair exhibitors should face if they are caught feeding their hogs ractopamine, a feed additive used to promote leanness in swine, cattle and turkeys.

Ractopamine has been banned by other countries, including China and members of the European Union, but is considered safe and legal by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The board voted in August to ban ractopamine for hogs beginning with the 2021 Shelby County Fair. Shelby County and other fairs have banned ractopamine in swine because meat processors won’t accept hogs that have been fed it.

Aaron Heilers from the Swine Committee said the Junior Fair Board wanted the Senior Fair Board to establish a policy for enforcing the ractopamine ban. However, he and other Fair Board members expressed apprehension about enforcing any penalties as ractopamine remains legal in the United States and the Ohio Department of Agriculture won’t provide support during any court challenges to fair boards that ban it.

“I do not want to ban some kid for three years over Paylean,” Heilers said, referencing a feed that is made with ractopamine.

Other Fair Board members including Vice President Matt Henman said there should be a penalty for breaking rules and suggested fining exhibitors found to have used the banned substance.

Ultimately, the Fair Board decided to require exhibitors and the breeders of their hogs to sign affidavits stating they haven’t fed ractopamine to their swine. Exhibitors will be subject to the board’s current regulations on banned substances, which includes the option to ban exhibitors who use banned substances for three years or more.

If the fair returns to having a block sale of swine, exhibitors who use a banned substance such as ractopamine also could face consequences from meat processors such as being forced to pay damages for an entire load of hogs if their hog is contaminated.

John Bertsch and Scott Bertsch presented donations to the Fair Board in memory of their father, James Bertsch. James Bertsch, who was part of the Fair Board from 1996-2017, died in December.

The family collected $1,070 in memorial contributions during James Bertsch’s funeral, and John Bertsch, the president of Detailed Machining, added a $2,000 donation from the company.

The Bertsch family requested that the donations be put toward a digital sign at the Fairgrounds.

Cathy Platfoot reported exhibitors picked up tags for their 2021 Fair cattle. Exhibitors picked up tags for 19 steers, 13 heifers and 21 dairy cattle.

Henman said 1,000 tickets are available for the Fair Board’s gun raffle. Tickets are available from Fair Board members and at Tactical Solutions Firearms & Accessories.

The board voted to spend $995 to install touchless faucets in the bathrooms at the Senior Fair Board Office, using grant funds from the state that are available to address COVID-19 issues. Other bathroom faucets at the Fairgrounds already were upgraded, Shelby County Maintenance Supervisor Chris Roediger said, but the office bathrooms previously were overlooked.

Roediger said construction has started in the Beige Building but has been slowed by illness among the construction crew. He also said the Shelby County Engineer’s Office is creating plans for an inflow and infiltration project and a storm drainage project at the Fairgrounds, which likely will be completed in the fall.

Roediger also said additional camping spots for the Fair are being prepared with electricity options currently being explored. Jamie Reese said a note needs to be added to the fair book that specific spots for camping won’t be guaranteed.

Garber asked committee chairs to submit any changes that need to be made to the fair book, which is scheduled to be printed in March.

Agricultural Educator Matt Schmerge said a new extension educator should start on Feb. 1, but the person’s identity hasn’t been revealed. Schmerge also said employees again are working in the Extension office, and the service window is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Garber presented an overview of Junior Fair changes for 2021, and Treasurer Eugene Schulze presented an overview of House Bill 665. The bill, which will go into effect in April, allows fair boards to borrow more money, receive additional money from county governments and more.

Gov. Mike DeWine vetoed Senate Bill 375 that would have fully opened all fairs in 2021. Garber said the Ohio Fair Managers Association will revisit the issue in the spring.

Clark said he applied for a Community Foundation grant, seeking almost $5,000 to replace chairs in the Beige Building.

Schulze and Clark attended the virtual Ohio Fair Managers Association convention. Videos are available on the association’s YouTube page.

Schulze reported the Fair Board had $1,258 in income in December, $5,512.67 in expenses and an ending account balance of $58,605. The board approved $15,420 in bills to be paid in January.

By Kyle Shaner


Reach the writer at kshaner@sidneydailynews.com or 937-538-4824.

Reach the writer at kshaner@sidneydailynews.com or 937-538-4824.