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Are changes putting $16 million livestock expo in jeopardy?

Author: Kristy

osted: Aug 11, 2015 4:27 PM CST Updated: Aug 11, 2015 5:30 PM CST

Shakeups in the executive committee of the North American International Livestock Exposition have led to concerns about stability. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

Shakeups in the executive committee of the North American International Livestock Exposition have led to concerns about stability. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – It’s one of the top livestock shows in the country and some say its future in Kentucky is in jeopardy. Shakeups in the executive committee of the North American International Livestock Exposition have led to concerns about stability.

Some estimate this show brings around $16 million dollars into the state. While it loses money for the Kentucky State Fair Board, it’s a big boost for Kentucky farmers. People have devoted their lives to growing the more than 40-year-old show, so all the changes have stirred up emotions.

“To pull this North American off in 2015 is going to take almost a miracle,” executive committee member Jim Rudolph said.

Longtime participant, Howard Rea from Shelby County, said, “I’m walking through the barns out here and I’m hearing, ‘With what the Governor is doing, hell they want to get rid of all the livestock at the North American,’ and then I’m hearing it with the cattle industry.”

At the center of it: Two executive orders from the Governor that both changed up who sits on the committee, and who leads it.

Rudolph said to the new chair, Fair Board president and CEO Rip Rippetoe, “You did Mr. Ragsdale as you did, that is unpardonable. I’m going to be frank with you. This gentleman has devoted his life. He has not only devoted his life, he’s volunteered.”

Rippetoe was made chair in the order, instead of longtime chair Jack Ragsdale leading the group. With other changes, like Harold Workman, who has been involved in various roles since the beginning, stepping back and Corinne Fetter, most recent NAILE general manager resigning, Rudolph wonders if Rippetoe can pull the show off.

“I would shudder to think putting one of us in your seat right now, let alone the fact that you’ve been here two years,” he said.

Committee members asked that Workman and Fetter be brought back as consultants at least for the 2015 show so that it can continue successfully.

“It’s going to be here for as long as we possibly can make it for many years to come,” Rippetoe reassured.

The expo is set to start Nov. 3. The committee will meet again in the next few weeks to try to iron out some of these changes, aiming for success.

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