By ANDY GOODELL
The Oskaloosa Herald
A new horse arena can be found on the northwest corner of the Southern Iowa Fairgrounds.
On Wednesday, Sylvia Brown, a horse superintendent for Mahaska County at the Southern Iowa Fair, said the arena would be used for the first time on Thursday for the Horse Games Fun Show.
“Personally, this has been something that I have worked on for the last three years,” explained Brown, adding that she showed at the Southern Iowa Fair for her entire 4-H and FFA career. “It’s really been my goal while I’ve been superintendent to get a new arena up that would provide more equine activities for the 4-H and FFA kids to participate in.”
Brown noted that the new arena is 140 feet by 260 feet and that it includes two walkthrough gates on either side. Around 30 to 35 area youth in 4-H will use the arena, noted Brown.
She added that an upstart saddle club in Oskaloosa will also use the arena. With this, monthly shows are being planned from April through October, Brown said.
“It would be usable for any association that wanted to use it,” said Brown.
Brown said there has already been a bit of interest in the new horse arena from various equine associations. She agreed that events put on by associations from outside the local area will help boost the local economy. She noted that those in town for events would buy food, fuel, lodging and other things locally.
The arena that was previously in use was intended to be temporary, Brown explained. The new, permanent arena is larger, she added.
In an e-mail to the Herald, Brown wrote that the lights for it were made possible by the Southern Iowa Fair, Veenstra Construction and Musco Lighting.
Fund raising events like concession stands and a spaghetti supper helped fund the new arena, according to Brown.
Also in an e-mail to the Herald, Brown noted that other funding for the arena came from the Mahaska County Community Foundation, George Daily Trust, Iowa Horse Council, DC Trucking, State Bank of Bussey, Vermeer, as well as Fred’s Muffler Shop.
Funding from the Iowa Horse Council, George Daily Trust, and Mahaska County Community Foundation came in the form of grants, said Brown.
Brown acknowledged fellow horse superintendents Sharis Claver and Lisa Kinkade in her e-mail to the Herald. Here she also thanked the Southern Iowa Fair Board for getting the new horse arena put up for this year’s Southern Iowa Fair.
Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.