Rob Seal, director of the Agricenter came to a work session of the Lauderdale County board of supervisors with a request.
"I have a local promoter who has approached me about producing nine barrel races at the Agricenter this calendar year, and I would ask that we proceed with signing a contract on nine of these barrel races," said Seal. "He would pay a price of $400 for building rental for each of them."
The agricenter normally rents for $600 per day. Supervisor Ray Boswell expressed doubts about the deal.
"There's a $4.7 million building. I mean, is that a fair price to rent a building?" asked Boswell. "A $4.7 million project for $400 dollars a day?"
Seal's response indicated other similar facilities in the state have made it a renter's market.
"The Columbia facility rents for $250 per day. They provide absolutely nothing. They don't care whether you rent it one day a year or if you rent it 100 days a year. It's still $250 a day," Seal said.
The Lauderdale County facility provides support services. The Columbia facility does not.
"They do furnish lights now but they do not supply a tractor. They don't furnish any equipment to work the arena with or anything," said Seal.
Seal told the supervisors if they agreed to the contract, the barrel race promoter would have to pay for all nine dates even if he didn't use them.
"The $400 would be an all inclusive fee for each event, but it would not include the stalls or the RV hookups," Seal said.
If the supervisors approve the deal at their next meeting, the first barrel races will be March 13 and 20. They would be two of only three events scheduled at the Agricenter next month, the other being a wild horse adoption program sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management.