Boone County Commission approves contract with TAG Events for fairgrounds management

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 | 2:33 p.m. CST; updated 7:05 p.m. CST, Tuesday, January 3, 2012

COLUMBIA — The Boone County Commission approved a two-year contract with TAG Events LLC for management of the Boone County Fairgrounds at its meeting Tuesday.

The agreement, announced in a news release on Thursday, caps annual operation and utility expenses for the county at $275,000. The county has also budgeted $100,000 over the next year for capital maintenance and improvements at the fairgrounds.

A profit-sharing provision in the contract guarantees the county 70 percent of profits from the fairgrounds until the county makes $275,000. At that point, the county will receive 30 percent of the profits, with TAG Event getting the rest.

"I think it's a really fair contract," Southern District Commissioner Karen Miller said during the Tuesday meeting. "I think it's fair for both sides. It's a win-win. We can only go up from here."

Last week, Presiding Commissioner Dan Atwill said the county planned to reach out to MU to recruit interns for marketing and labor at the fairgrounds and to the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau to conduct research about the financial impact of the site. He said Tuesday that those discussions have begun.

Miller said the agreement provides needed stability. TAG Events has been managing the fairgrounds on an interim basis since Oct. 1.

"I think that's in everyone's best interest, just having a finite plan that we can look to," Miller said.a

That plan involves a new name for the site. Miller said she'd like to see a name that emphasizes the site as an events center, not just the fairgrounds.

Mike Teel, who owns TAG Events with business partner Brent Gibson, said he intends to visit and observe the operation of two event centers in Oklahoma later this month.

"I think any outside information we can get will be beneficial," Teel said.

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