The Cloverdale Rodeo & Exhibition Association has a new president.
Shannon Claypool was voted out as Rodeo Association president Oct. 17 as four new people were elected to the board: Janet Howell, Rick Hugh, Michael Cook Jr., and Tania Smythe. Incumbent Dale Saip also lost his bid at reelection.
Immediately after the vote, the new board met together and elected a new executive with Gerry Spielmacher the new president, Kathy Sheppard and Rich Kitos elected as first and second VPs, and Michael Cook Jr. elected as treasurer.
“The results were indicative of the fact that people are emotionally charged right now,” said new board member Rick Hugh. (Hugh will be elected to a non-executive board position at a subsequent meeting.)
“I’m hoping the city will see there’s been a changing of the guard and maybe that will impact them in some way in terms of the negotiations.”
Those negotiations, dealing with the city taking control of the Fairgrounds, were top of mind for the outgoing Claypool.
After the vote, Claypool said he was disappointed with the results, but wished the new board well as they face some serious issues, such as negotiations with the city over the future of the Rodeo and the Fairgrounds and the human rights complaint against the Rodeo Association board.
“It’s been 25 pretty good years,” said Claypool. “And I will be volunteering. And I might let my name stand at the next AGM.”
Claypool said the end of his tenure as president is not an end for him with the Rodeo Association.
“I will be in the audience next year and, as membership should, I will be holding the new board accountable.”
Claypool believed it was unfortunate timing for new board members to be taking over because the old board was in the middle of negotiations with the City of Surrey.
“I just hope they can continue where we left off and not lose any ground,” he added. “The negotiations will need to be completed by December.”
Hugh, a longtime Rodeo Association member and volunteer and a former vice-principal at Lord Tweedsmuir, said he hopes potential sponsors will have confidence in the Association as they look for support for the 2022 Rodeo & Country Fair.
“This is also important for volunteers,” added Hugh. “We need a lot of volunteers and families need the confidence that the Rodeo is still a safe place for them to volunteer and a safe place for their kids to volunteer.”
Hugh questioned whether parents had lost confidence in the Association and hopes any that may have will now have renewed confidence in the decades old Cloverdale institution.
“When the dust settles, (the human rights complaint) is still a cloud over the association, whether they are just allegations or if they are factual.”
Hugh thanked Claypool for his decades-long service to the Association.
“My hat’s off to him for even wanting to run again,” said Hugh. “He’s put a lot of time in for this Association.”
There were some fireworks over the course of the AGM.
Several nominations for people to run for board positions were denied, as they were not members for the required six months previous to the vote, as per the constitution.
Several members repeatedly objected to rule at the open mic, at times vociferously, as successive nominations were denied.
One member, Ken Kachur, alleged Dale Saip, was elected to the board two years ago after not being an Association member for the required six months. Although Kachur offered no evidence to support the claim.
Another member demanded to know who the city hired to run the Fairgrounds, after Mayor Doug McCallum recently claimed, at a Cloverdale Chamber luncheon, that the city had already reached an agreement with an unnamed entity.
Councillor Doug Elford told the member he didn’t know of any agreement being reached, but said he would look into it and let the membership know if he found out any information.
There was also an alleged, albeit small, ballot-stuffing incident.
Michael Gardiner, the president of Strategies 360, acted as parliamentarian and Gardiner told the membership 78 ballots were handed out, but 81 ballots had been turned in.
“The scrutineers agreed to proceed with the counting of the vote,” he said. “The fourth and fifth candidates have been briefed with the results and did not ask for another vote.”
Gardiner said the candidates who were in sixth and seventh places were far enough behind that the three ballots were not a factor. Both candidates did not contest the final count.
The Association board will meet this week to elect the non-executive board positions.
Spielmacher could not be reached by publication time.