Ad Astra Radio Family Brands

Discussion of Removing the Kansas State Fairgrounds Race Track During Council Meeting


By Lucky Kidd


HUTCHINSON, Kan.  — Removal of the dirt race track at the Kansas State Fairgrounds was brought before the Hutchinson City Council during the public comment portion of the meeting on Aug. 1, with City Council members voicing concerns about not only the actions of the state fair board but it’s composition.

William Nusser, a race car driver who grew up in Hutchinson and currently lives in Larned where he is mayor, outlined his views that a race track needs to be retained on the fairgrounds and that it can provide significant economic benefits for the community. Nusser made a presentation to the Kansas State Fair Board last month that included information on the impact tracks have in other communities.

Nusser organized a meeting of track supporters Tuesday evening at the Rice Park Community Center.

In November, 2022 the Kansas State Fair Board voted to demolish the half mile dirt track, which has been part of the fairgrounds for many years, to make room for other future projects on that part of the fairgrounds property. What exactly those future projects has not been determined, pending the selection of a new on-call architect for the fair which was in process when the Board held it’s July meeting.

In discussing this issue, Council members voiced concerns about the makeup of the Fair Board, a lack of public information on it’s members. Council member Stacy Goss saying she had been told by fair staff that information could not be released. and that there is not a fair board member living in Reno County.

Of the 13 members of the Fair Board, the two living closest to Hutchinson are Sarah Green of Wichita, a former reporter for the Hutchinson News who is now with the Kansas Sampler Foundation near Inman and serving as the representative of the South Central Extension District, and Lindsborg Convention and Visitors Bureau director Holly Lofton, who represents the Travel and Industry Association of Kansas, one of three organizations that hold designated seats on the board.

Five of the 13 fair board members represent the state’s K-State Research and Extension Districts. In addition to TIAK, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Kansas Fairs and Festivals Association also hold designated seats on the board. Also holding designated board seats are the Kansas Secretaries of Agriculture and Commerce or their designees, and the Dean of the College of Agriculture at Kansas State University who also serves as director of KSRE. Two board members are appointed at-large, with the appointed members named by Governor Laura Kelly.