Cowboy Poetry Festival meeting |

Cowboy Poetry Festival meeting

by Kurt Hildebrand
Tribune News Service

A July 1 meeting has been set between the town of Genoa and the Carson Valley Arts Council to pick a ramrod and confirm a date for the second Genoa Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival.

Festival organizers are already behind in planning for the event, according to Town Manager Sheryl Gonzales.

“This time last year we were already in negotiations with entertainers,” she said.

While much of the structure of the festival is still up for debate, Genoans said their pick for ramrod is innkeeper and former town board member Sue Knight, who would serve as event and steering committee chairwoman.

Last year co-chairs were in charge and there were some conflicts.

“We’ve identified the fact that there have been some trust issues, and we’re working toward that annual event that we want it to be,” said Arts Council President Brian Fitzgerald. “We still want to participate.”

Town Board member Dave Whitgob said he and Chairman Brian Williams had been meeting with Fitzgerald and another member of the arts council to try and work out some of the issues.

He agreed that there were trust issues on both sides, but that the event was worth the work.

“We had a spectacular event, but we also had our fair share of distrust,” Whitgob said. “Having co-chairs just didn’t work. We need to have one chairman. It just makes sense.”

Board member Karen Holmes said she felt the town should work with the arts council, but that there was no way the town manager would be excluded.

“Have we thought about going alone,” she asked.

Fitzgerald said the art council wants to participate in the event, and that he felt it required involvement from the rest of Carson Valley

“We want to be here, but I won’t be offended if you want to have that dialogue,” Fitzgerald said. We have a lot of work to make the event better.”

Gonzales presented four options for a structure of the event, including one that had Genoa operating on its own, and another that hired an events coordinator.

Town board members expressed interest in the options that consisted of a volunteer coordinator and a steering committee.

“I think there is strength in partnership,” Town Board member Jen King said. “This is a huge event and we have a small pool of volunteers.”

Genoa Town Board members also heard an accounting of the event from finance co-chair Melanie Miller.

Estimated profit from the event was about $10,035, assuming that a Nevada Commission on Tourism grant comes through.

Fitzgerald said the grant was awarded, but in order to collect the organizations need to have a final accounting.

“It’s a Catch 22,” he said. “We need to turn in final accounting to get the grant, but we can’t finalize the accounting until we get the grant.”

Fitzgerald said the state needed to clear its books by June 30, and should have delivered a check by then.

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