Las Vegas Councilwoman Michele Fiore waived $9,000 in fees for a for-profit steer roping event last weekend at Floyd Lamb Park that drew protests from nearby residents who complain the event violated the permit, park rules and COVID-19 directives from Gov. Steve Sisolak.
“We ran over 600 teams and over 100 breakaway runs and payed (sic) out 17,000 (sic) and gave a truck and prizes out also,” event organizer Richie Griffith wrote on Rehab Roping Productions’ Facebook page. “Sisolack (sic) can suck it cowboys won the West and will continue to.”
Rehab Roping Productions has no City of Las Vegas or Clark County business license.
The two-day event drew spectators and participants who camped and set up stalls for livestock, an apparent violation of the permit’s prohibition on lodging.
Griffith and his wife, Fallon, who applied for the permit, did not respond to requests for comment.
“We have pictures date and time-stamped showing everyone camping overnight in the park adjacent to the historic area and hay barn,” says Karen Livingston, who lives next to the park.
Neighbors fear Fiore is out to urbanize the area, beginning with a renovation of the hay barn to accommodate weddings and other events.
“Without notifying her constituents or seeking input from the community, Michele Fiore is transforming the historic haybarn into an event complex for large parties of up to 500 people– a sweeping plan that includes a 40,000 sq. ft. paved parking lot, a 3,000 sq. ft. building with bride and groom quarters, restrooms, and significant lighting to the area,” says a statement from the Save Floyd Lamb Park Action Group.
Fiore did not respond to requests for comment.
A protest against the plan is scheduled for Saturday at 8 a.m. at Floyd Lamb Park, where Fiore is scheduled to attend a ribbon-cutting for new bike trails.
Livingston says Griffith boasted of having hundreds of people attend the two-day event, which she says violated the park’s policy of passive recreation only.
“In her reckless grab for public land, Fiore has put the city of Las Vegas in violation of the Transfer Agreement which could give the State of Nevada cause to reclaim the park,” says the statement from the neighborhood group.
By contrast, Clark County’s Horseman’s Park, which normally holds more than 75 equestrian events a year, has put them on hold to comply with the governor’s directives.
The Park is open to individuals and groups of 10 or less, who want to exercise their horses, says Mary Gipaya of Equine Event Management, the company that manages the arena.
“We felt that canceling the events that were scheduled to be held at Horseman’s Park was the safest thing to do for our community in this time of Covid-19,” says Gipaya. “Most of those equestrian groups told us they would have canceled anyway as their members did not feel safe to come out in large crowds. Safety is always one of the highest priorities for groups at Horseman’s Park.”