Commission Approves Horse Wagering, Hires Tree Mitigation Coordinator

Sheridan County Courthouse (Leslie Stratmoen Photo)

The Sheridan County Commission approved resolutions today to allow pari-mutuel betting on horse races and to hire a fire mitigation coordinator for Story.

Approval for horse wagering was in response to requests from two separate companies – Wyoming Downs in Evanston and Wyoming Horse Racing LLC. Pari-mutuel betting is known as a system in which all bets of a particular type are placed together in a pool and payoff odds are calculated by sharing the pool among all winning bets, with no taxes assessed or share given to the house.

Eric Nelson is the owner of Wyoming Downs. He re-enforced what Eugene Joyce of Wyoming Horse Racing LLC said at the last meeting – that horse wagering would be good for the horse industry, as a whole.

Art Erickson, owner of Sheridan's historic train depot, stepped forward to say he supports the endeavor, wholeheartedly.

The contract for tree mitigation is with Meagan Deans of Story. She'll be paid through a contract tied to a Defensible Space Fire grant, which is part of the state's fire mitigation efforts. Story is a town of about 800 people south of Sheridan near the Bighorn National Forest.

Mike Mackey is the grants administrator for Sheridan County who made the request for hire. He said the $180,000 in grant monies actually comes from the state through three different grants that will cover the next three years. He said the plan will be to have Deans meet with landowners to put together contracts for the work. She'll be paid $20 an hour, plus mileage.

To hear the audio recording of the meeting, click here.