Osage County commissioners voted Monday to grant five funding requests from the county’s Tourism Oversight Committee.
The amounts included $1,500 in support of the Osage County Cattlemen’s Convention, June 14-17; $2,500 for the Ben Johnson Memorial Steer Roping event June 17; $1,500 for the Shidler Car Show on Aug. 25; $5,000 for the PostOak Wine & Jazz Festival, Aug. 31 through Sept. 2; and $2,800 for Skiatook’s Pioneer Days, to be held Sept. 13-15.
Claud Rosendale of Barnsdall spoke on behalf of the Tourism Oversight Committee, and presented the funding requests. Rosendale said the support request for the Cattlemen’s Convention is down by $500 this year from the $2,000 requested a year ago. The Convention, which typically attracts about 1,050 people, hopes to attract 1,200 this year, he said.
The Ben Johnson Steer Roping event has been attracting about 3,500 people per year during the past couple of years, Rosendale said. It is hoped the event can draw 4,000 people this year, he said, characterizing it as “another one of those things that really exemplifies what Osage County is about.”
This will be the 15th year for the Shidler Car Show, which typically attracts about 150 vehicles and more than 1,000 people, Rosendale said. There were 158 vehicles last year, he said.
The PostOak Wine & Jazz Festival generally attracts about 2,500 people, but due to weather considerations it drew a little less than 2,000 a year ago, Rosendale said. It is hoped that 2,500 to 2,800 people will attend during Labor Day weekend this year, he said.
“It brings kind of a different clientele into Osage County,” Rosendale said.
The Pioneer Days event in Skiatook, which he characterized as “just a fun-filled family type event” similar to Big Heart Day in Barnsdall, usually attracts some 5,000 to 6,000 people. It is hoped as many as 7,000 people will attend this September, Rosendale said.
During the citizen input portion of the county board meeting, Jerry Butterbaugh of Fairfax noted that the Shidler Car Show has been used to raise money for the fire department in that community. He asked if the county would give financial support to similar events for other communities — for instance, Fairfax.
“This is support of a very good cause, but we also have the same cause other places,” Butterbaugh said.
District 1 Commissioner Jerry Howerton said he recently had the same basic conversation with someone, and came away with the understanding that for the Tourism Oversight Committee to recommend supporting an event, that event would have to appeal to and attract people from outside the county.
County Clerk Shelia Bellamy pointed out that the funding for tourism events is not a series of donations. County government doesn’t make donations, she said. Additionally, the money that the county gives in support of a tourism-related event isn’t spent on causes such as the local fire department, she said.
Butterbaugh said his interest is to see communities throughout the county benefit from the assistance of county government.
“I’d like to see us able to help the fire department other places,” he said.