LCFA: The rest of the story

An open letter to Judge Burkeen Commissioners, and citizens of Limestone County,
After reading the letter in The Mexia News dated April, 18, I feel compelled to tell “the rest of the story for LCFA. Although I’m not a member of the board, I’ve volunteered with them for 10 years or more. LCFA is a 501(c)(3) organization formed for the purpose of providing a means for the youth of the county to raise and learn about animal management and o provide scholarship to at least one graduating senior from each high school in our county. Last year we were able to provide three scholarships to each school. LCFA is a volunteer organization and none of the board members receive any type of compensation.
Let me begin by saying we thank the judge and the commissioners for their continued support through the years of the youth activities in Limestone county--not only the LCFA, but 4-H and FFA activities as well as horse clinics on a weekly basis for the youth of Limestone County.
I don’t want anyone to get the impression that the LCFA is “all take and no give”.
I am not sure why Mr. Ellis had so many overtime hours attributed to the fair and its activities. The only extra day we had was for the horse show, and Mr. Ellis was not asked to be there that day because he had shown one of our volunteers how to operate the drag plus, the gentleman using the equipment has experience handling this type of equipment. The kick-off week end was in place of the two nights we previously held the rodeo. These events are held to provide us with funds to pay the expenses necessary to put on the fair—judges, banners, ribbons, advertisement, etc. We have the support of the community to partially offset some of these expenses by sponsoring buckles, banners advertising their business or donating to sponsor one of the shows. Volunteers prepared the arena for the Saturday night concert. The county provided the compactor, but it was run by a county employee on his own time. The tables and chairs were donated and set up and decorated by LCFA volunteers. We did need Mr. Ellis to come out for a period of time because the sound people—who we were paying—were having difficulty in connecting to our sound system and Mr. Ellis came out to help get that problem solved.
When the pens are set up for the show, volunteers are always there to do the job, although Mr. Ellis often prefers to do it himself with the inmates. I know the last two years, one of our volunteers has brought his work crew out at his own expense to set up the pens and our volunteers were there to take the pens down.
We realized that we needed more pens, so we held three $10,000 dinners to raise funds to purchase additional pens. To date, LCFA has purchased over 100 additional pens at a cost of $28,301which were donated to the county. Currently we are working on getting funds for additional horse stalls as well as additional RV hook ups. All of this equipment is donated to the county. LCFA has caused to have built at no cost to the county, an additional wash rack. The cement alone would have cost the county $1,495. The covering for the rack and the plumbing were donated as was all the labor. Had the county paid for this, it would have been an additional $5-6,000 cost to the county. The cost for the use of a dozer is $75-$100 per hour, and LCFA had a dozer out there for eight hours clearing trees and debris from the grounds. The flags hanging from the ceiling of the arena were also donated by this organization.
Mr. Ellis has always been very supportive and helpful whenever asked, but we never assume his help.
I just wanted the citizens to see that LCFA does try to be a good steward to the fairgrounds as well as return to the county in ways other than monetarily. We have an exceptional facility, and hope to see more events scheduled for its use. This would bring people into town to support the businesses that support us—even if just for a weekend.

Penny Gray