The Okmulgee County Free Fair Board voted to change an Okmulgee County Spring Livestock Show rule that had prevented some students in the county from participating.
Previously, the Spring Livestock Show’s rule stated that it was open to “any Okmulgee County 4-H or FFA members currently enrolled in their organization AND attending a school located within Okmulgee County or homeschooled in Okmulgee County.” The rule was revised along with two amendments. One amendment specifies that participants can only show in one county per academic year. The other makes the rule change effective immediately.
In addition to some parents in attendance, Commissioner Erik Zoellner joined Lowell Hobbs in voicing their support for the rule change, which also had some pushback from those who worried that changing the rule would allow too many kids to participate.
Some members worried that virtual school was not accounted for, but it was explained that virtual schools count as public schools, with the address being the students home address.
Mark Kuntz, Chairman of the Spring Livestock Committee was in attendance and was asked to comment on the matter. He made clear that he did not want to speak on behalf of the SLSC but said this has been an issue that they’ve brought up at nearly every meeting in the last year.
“We didn’t change this rule. We didn’t instigate this.” Kuntz said. “There was never anybody that came to any of our Spring Livestock meetings to discuss or advocate.” He also felt that discussions around the rule were framing the Spring Livestock committee as being against the kids.
Fair board president Nate Porter turned in his resignation midway through the meeting and out of caution, vice president Floyd Robinson did not cast a vote for the rule change or amendments.
In addition to the rule change, the board also approved the treasurer’s report and the minutes from the previous meeting. They also heard feedback about the recent fair, and announced that the Jerry Shoemake Award be presented to Andrea Smith at the November meeting.
The Spring Livestock Show committee is set to meet on October 22 at 6 p.m.