(May 6) – A bill by Rep. Daneya Esgar to provide funding for renovations of the deteriorating Horse Show Arena of Colorado’s State Fairgrounds earned final approval from the House this morning with a 39-25 vote. Colorado’s State Fairgrounds are intended to be self-sustaining, but the poor condition of the Horse Show Arena has been a barrier to reaching that goal.
“This is a bill that was brought to me by constituents in Pueblo,” said Rep. Esgar. “The Horse Show Arena is the big money maker for Colorado’s State Fair grounds and it needs renovations to be successful. This bill will help ensure we get the Horse Show Arena back up and operating as it should, and continue to attract events and competitors from around the state and the country all year round.”
HB16-1447 dedicates $50,000 strictly to be used for renovations and another $50,000 for maintenance of the Horse Show Arena, which is utilized by equestrians and 4H clubs from every corner of the state. There are over a dozen horse shows and 4H events each year. The Colorado State Fair Horse Arena is also used to protect and relocate animals of all types during natural disasters like fires and floods.
An important source of income for the facility is the boarding of horses overnight, but this service isn’t being fully utilized due to the current condition of the stables. Horse shows at Colorado’s State Fair Horse Show Arena bring in nearly a quarter of a million dollars each year.
During the bill’s initial hearing, Rep. Esgar read aloud from two letters from her constituents urging the committee to support the bill.
“Without improvement, the State Fair stands no chance of attracting these events,” read a letter from Sandy Proctor, horse show supervisor for the Colorado State Fair for 25 years. “Exhibitors are not willing to pay $50,000 for a horse and put them in stalls that are literally falling down around them.”
“The State Fair Horse Show area has a storied history of hosting national and regional level competitions,” wrote Cathy Irvin, board member of Rocky Mountain Reining Horse Association (RMRHA). “It used to be a favored destination for equestrians. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. The facility should be a showcase for the State of Colorado and for the State Fair itself.”
The bill now proceeds to the Senate.