The Arkansas-Oklahoma State Fair is a community project sponsored by the Arkansas-Oklahoma Regional Education and Promotion Association, Inc. The Association, which is an all-volunteer, not-for-profit corporation, was organized exclusively for the purpose of educating and informing the residents of Western Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma about agricultural matters.
It is in pursuit of this goal that the Association sponsors annual public fairs, exhibitions, rodeos and other special events. These events offer the public a unique opportunity to be exposed to and informed about the many areas of agriculture including livestock breeding and improvement of breeds, horticulture, horses, poultry, swine and resource management and conservation.
In support of the stated mission and purpose of the Association, thousands of additional dollars are expended annually for the enhancement, enlargement and improvement of Kay Rodgers Park. The accommodations provided to fairgoers, rodeo enthusiasts and the participants in every event are maintained in top condition.
For example, in keeping with ADA guidelines, more than $300,000 was spent to make Kay Rodgers Park more accessible to the handicapped. These improvements included paving the carnival midway, providing handicapped parking and new handicapped restroom facilities and removing electrical and water line impediments from the independent midway.
Other improvements include: adding a new roof extension and new bleachers to the show barn; remodeling and enlarging the restroom facilities along with adding showers for the exhibitors; covering the livestock holding area of Harper Stadium; constructing a new sheep barn and 300 new horse stalls; and providing hundreds of new parking spaces. In 1996, the Association constructed Hugh Hardin Arena, the Park's second show arena.
The $200,000 multipurpose arena is used for livestock exhibitions as well as a practice area for the Futurity, cutting horse and other equine events. The Association has recently invested $5 million to include a 45,000 square foot Exhibition/Events Building. This is part of the long range plan adopted in 1999 outlining more than $10 million in capital improvements at Kay Rodgers Park.