Mohave County Fair Association Vice Chair Jason Millin, left, and General Manager Tim Woods look over proposed improvements for the fairgrounds.
STORY AND PHOTOS BY AARON RICCA
KINGMAN – A drive by the Mohave County Fairgrounds offers a view of bland, brown grandstands and not much else as far as eye candy.
The view will be changing over the next few months.
Mohave County Fairgrounds Association General Manager Tim Woods and Vice Chair Jason Millin dished out the grand plans slated for the next year or two.
“There a lot of improvements to be made,” Woods said in his native Texas-twang.
The desk in the MCFA headquarters was scattered with maps of traffic improvements, pictures with preliminary renderings of property enhancements and a chicken-scratched list of up-coming events.
Woods took on the general manager position in 2017. Before that, he owned a 12,000-acre ranch in Texas, a state that prides itself in finding a way to celebrate anything and everything.
The brightest idea, literally, is local auto-dealership magnate Martin Swanty securing the naming rights to the main stadium. That move will help purchase LED signage big enough to light up the night sky and be seen from miles away.
All-Right Air Conditioning & Heating has purchased the naming rights for the exhibition center.
Naming rights will be available for the exhibit halls.
“It’s not just about raising money,” Millin said. “The rights a renewable each year and will hopefully get more of the community and county involved.”
Woods has worked with the Mohave County Engineering Department to improve the flow of vehicles in and out of the property.
“We’re working get the traffic jams the neighbors have had to deal with for years taken care of,” he said.
MCFA also wants to add a large “flex-use” arena that will host events year-round and withstand the elements for decades to come.
The fairgrounds already hosts the county fair, Andy Devine Days Rodeo, Independence Day fireworks, weddings and Motocross and scramble car races.
The Extreme Drawfanators Wrestling event in February was a huge hit.
Debbie Cleveland, one of the MCFA board of directors, described her experience at the wrestling match.
“I was there with a friend of mine who is partially blind,” she said. “When I noticed one of the fans dressed as a wrestler, I tried to show her what was going on. When she leaned in to get a better look, the fan reached over and kissed her on the cheek. She loved it. Everybody was having such a great time.”
Woods is working furiously to bring in as many events as he can while simultaneously searching for ways to attract a wider audience.
“The hard part is getting people from throughout the county on board,” he said.
Millin’s vice chair position is one of many jobs he has bringing Kingman to life. The Army veteran is also a part-time tattoo artist and the Arizona@Work One Stop Operator for Mohave and La Paz counties.
He helps put people back to work through volunteer and vocational rehabilitation programs and the fairgrounds is a good place to start.
“What better way to get people back to work than by giving them an opportunity to take pride in their community,” he said.
As of March 11, Fairgrounds employees and some volunteers were in the process of clearing dead trees and working on the sun-rotted ticket booths, just a few of the aesthetic improvements being made.
The plain, brown façade of the grandstands doesn’t exactly scream ‘Come Visit!’ and Woods isn’t opposed to adding some color. Some downtown walls have gotten much needed pizazz and local activists and artists are working to add a few more splashes of paint.
“I like the idea of murals,” he said. “We’ve gotten a lot done and more to do, but we ain’t stoppin’.”
Volunteers are always needed. To get involved, contact the MCFA office online at www.mcfafairgrounds.org or in person at 2600 Fairgrounds Blvd.