Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

By Charlene Smith
Pine Bluffs Post staff 

County commissioners say 'Giddy-up'


Charlene Smith

Wyoming Downs general manager Joan Ramos talks to the Laramie County Commissioners about horse racing in the county.

The Laramie County Commissioners met Tuesday afternoon and discussed pari-mutuel horse racing and simulcast wagering on live horse racing in Laramie County.

Dynasty Development Management, LLC which operates Wyoming Downs in Evanston, presented the commissioners with a resolution to conduct betting on horse races at the Outlaw Saloon in Laramie County and in the future host live horse races in Laramie County.

The commissioners learned the county will receive one percent of the revenue from the racing and wagering which will be dispersed by the Wyoming Pari-mutuel Commission. If the betting takes place inside city limits, the one percent is split between the county and city.

Any entity wanting to run horse racing, needs to get approval from the county before submitting an application to the Wyoming Pari-mutuel Commission.

Chairman Troy Thompson opened the discussion up for an impromptu public hearing. Bill Jebel from Cheyenne spoke to the commissioners about the revenue horse racing would bring in to the county.

“People would come and eat in our restaurants and buy our products in addition to it helping the horse industry and the side businessmen,” Jebel said.

Jebel had been involved and sat on the board of the Wyoming Horse Association and told the commissioners the association was very supportive of horse racing coming to Cheyenne.

Eugene Joyce, general manager of Wyoming Horse Racing, told the commissioner the horse racing industry was “in trouble.”

“Big tracks are going broke,” Joyce explained. But he agreed with Jebel that horse racing would bring money into Laramie County.

Joyce cautioned the commissioners against “undue haste” when deciding on allowing live horse racing in Laramie County. He said he had been communicating with Cheyenne Frontier Days about the possibility of bringing live horse racing to Cheyenne and felt the county couldn’t support two tracks. Joyce said horse racing was a “highly regulated” industry, and the contract should be specific on where the racing will take place before approving it.

“We would eat each other up and that wouldn’t be good for anyone,” claimed Joyce.

Joyce shared he had been in the horse racing industry his “entire life,” and felt his proposal for live horse racing in Laramie County would be better suited for everyone.

Commissioner Lee Hausenauer was concerned with the location at the Outlaw Saloon on South Greeley Highway that was already highly trafficked. He added the Boys and Girls Club would be moving to the area as well and wanted the option of looking at the impact of the racing after a year. Hausenauer asked if the contract would be reviewed and approved by the commissioners after one year.

Wyoming Downs general manager Joan Ramos said the contract needed to be reviewed each year and the commissioners had to approve it before it was submitted to the Wyoming Commission.

Commissioner Diane Humphrey brought up the motion to approve the application for Wyoming Downs to have simulcast horse racing in Laramie County. After receiving a second, commissioner Amber Ash moved to amend the motion to strike live horse racing from the application.

Thompson asked Ramos if Wyoming Downs would be willing to move forward without the live horse racing piece and she said that would be acceptable.

Thompson said he was excited to see horse racing back in Laramie County, and felt the amendment would hurt the progress rather than help. Humphrey agreed and said any one of the entities interested in hosting live horse racing had the same opportunities to come before the commissioners. She added she didn’t feel it was up to the commissioners to regulate who got the contract from CFD.

Commissioner Buck Holmes said he would hate to give one entity “a leg up” over the other one but he wasn’t opposed to horse racing.

The amendment to strike live horse racing failed but the motion to grant Dynasty Development, LLC the ability to host live horse racing and simulcast pari-mutuel events passed.

In other business, the commissioners approved a contract with #1 Properties to market the Archer Complex for lease or sale options to businesses. With this contract, the county will pay #1 Properties six percent of the sale or lease price of the properties.

One of the consent items the commissioners approved was the agreement between the county and the Pine Bluffs Senior Citizens center to pay $13,500 from the one percent General Purpose Optional Sales Tax for senior services such as nutrition and transportation.

The commissioners increased the amount provided to the Southeast Wyoming Economic Development District from $2,500 to $5,000. Director Karen L. Guidice said the broadband work was moving along nicely and the money would be used to support business development in the 2014 fiscal year.

The commissioners will meet again Tuesday, Sept. 3, at 3:30 p.m.


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