Board waives Bob Ruud fees in generous gesture

Two groups will get a slight break on costs associated with two local upcoming events.

The Pahrump Town Board gave the nod to partially waive user fees for the Bob Baker Wild West Extravaganza set for early next month at Petrack Park.

The annual event until this year was held at the Saddle West Hotel Casino.

The second event scheduled for Oct. 26-27, is being put on by the Wrangler Junior Rodeo Association (WJRA) at McCullough Arena adjacent to Petrack Park.

Town Board Vice Chair Bill Dolan is the liaison for the Pahrump Arena Advisory Board.

He said the advisory board requested that the town waive the fees for the rodeo event next month even though the group requested that the town implement the fees during a previous meeting.

“The fees were already established and they wanted to waive 33 percent of the fees across the board for all of the events. The last town board said ‘go forth and prosper, we’ll bless that.’ This last time, WJRA asked for a 50 percent reduction,” he said.

Dolan also said the advisory board is very active in helping to maintain the facility along with town staff.

“It’s the arena board members who actually go out and take care of the arena. The dirt and all of the grooming so people can go in there and ride their horses or practice barrel racing and things like that,” he said.

A group planning on using the Bob Ruud Community Center would have to pay $300 a day for the entire complex.

Board member Amy Riches said she has very strong feelings about local groups organizing events for the community, especially if the group is a nonprofit organization.

“In my opinion a 501(c)3 by law has to put money back into the community and I have long felt that that 501(c)3’s should not ever be charged and that goes for the fall festival, Kiwanis and the veterans. All of them that are true 501(c)3 should never be charged because that money goes back into the community,” she said.

Town Board Chair Harley Kulkin raised a few eyebrows when he offered to help pay the fees for both groups out of his own wallet.

“I just figured that I make a living in this community and it’s always a good idea to give back. I used to donate more. It’s easier for me to give a few extra bucks because giving my time is hard to come by due to my work schedule every day. It doesn’t always have to be money, but I wish more people in the community would donate their time to a worthy cause to help others,” he said.

Riches, meanwhile, who does not always see eye to eye with Kulkin, had much praise for her colleague’s gesture.

“That’s a wonderful thing that Harley Kulkin did. He is taking money out of his own pocket. I was so shocked and proud of him because that was a great thing that he did to help those two groups out,” she said.

Kulkin said he believes that most nonprofit groups in Pahrump do deserve a break when organizing an event for the community.

“The Rotary Club is a good example. People donate their time and collect money and put it all back into the community but all nonprofits are exactly equal. Just because you have a document that says you are nonprofit is not good enough for me. My concern is what are you doing with the money? When people are trying to help children and all of the money goes back into the community, naturally I’m a lot more receptive,” he said.

The chairman also said that fairness is also a consideration when the issue of fee waivers is on the table for discussion.

“If you do it for one, then you have an obligation to do it for all so you try to be consistent. Non-profits are really not an issue with me. It’s really about what are you doing for the community? If you have a function that is open to the public and they don’t have to pay to go to it, naturally you want to give them a break,” he said.

Kulkin also commented on other groups and individuals who use town-owned facilities each day who are not required to pay.

He noted that town staff routinely performs maintenance on all of the facilities whether they are being used or not.

“When folks are using the park after the sun goes down, the lights are on and it’s the town staff who provide those services because they are still working. A lot of people really don’t see what is going on behind the scenes. Matt Luis and his crew do a phenomenal job keeping everything running well. They haven’t had an additional crew member in years but their responsibilities have increased tremendously including new parks and everything,” he said.

After further discussion the board voted 4-0 to waive 33 percent of the fees for both organizations.

Kulkin will kick in an additional $50 each to both groups.

The Wild West Extravaganza will be held on Oct. 4-6.

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