Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

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By Deb Finnegan

On Thursday (11/21) at 4:00 p.m., the board members of Earl Warren Showgrounds are hosting a public meeting to discuss changing their mission statement to remove equine facilities. This will make it easier for the Board to develop the property to exclude equestrians or make it much smaller and less desirable.

The agenda includes discussing a strategic plan where the non-equestrian board members want to change the showground's official mission statement to eliminate the words "maintains a first-class equestrian facility." 

As part of the equestrian community, we are against making this change.

The current mission statement reads:

"The 19th District Agricultural Association and manages Earl Warren Showgrounds as a financially self-supporting entity that maintains a first-class equine facility, promotes and supports agricultural resources, provides facilities for community events, meetings, and emergency response, and furthers the goals and objectives of the Association and the State of California."

The new proposed mission statement is:

"It is the mission of the 19th District Agricultural Association to serve as stewards of our community asset known as the Earl Warren Showgrounds, providing a multi-use event center that contributes opportunity for community connectivity, learning and growth, entertainment and recreation, and a  safe place when emergency strikes, while honoring and reviving our agricultural and equestrian heritage."

Join the meeting and help us keep equestrian facilities!


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37 Comments

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racruiter Nov 24, 2019 06:47 PM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

Simply Put How Can We Help? My 7 year old is a horse fan and in SB it is difficult to find the right places for the right reasons.

a-1575560093 Nov 23, 2019 07:10 AM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

Whatever happens, a transportation museum should be a part. It would detail the importance of equines to the west in general and California and our region in particular. Another wing of the museum would be devoted to the internal combustion vehicle, another mode of transport whose demise is imminent. A retired "Land Shark" will be a great centerpiece

4358ed Nov 22, 2019 06:05 PM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

It's a cry for help when you have an aerial/trapeze apparatus center stage in the parking lot. I have no problem with the added concept, but the location? Bad choice. Who calls the shots at EW? The place is ridiculously undervalued as an event location.

Flicka Nov 22, 2019 04:49 PM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

Right about Jimmy Hendrix playing there. So did Janis Joplin, the Doors, Jefferson Airplane, really too many to list all of them, held about once a month. 1960s, pretty new idea having concerts, nothing like today. Tickets were $2.50 if bought ahead at Morning Glory Music, got a free poster there too, $3.00 at the door. I think they eventually worked their way up to $5.00. Always 3 bands, Santana Blues Band was a warmup group. Absolutely the most incredible light shows, better than anything they come up with now. We saw one concert in the main horseshow arena, Blind Faith with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker. Can't imagine why it was in the show ring. People complained because it was 50 cents to park so many parked in the Samarkand neighborhoods. Neighbors complained so vehemently it was finally all over.

biguglystick Nov 22, 2019 11:48 AM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

Santa Barbara is losing it's iconic places left and right. The Paradise restaurant is slated to close, Randy Rouse selling it to the same developers that have been building up a storm in the Funk Zone. State St. is a ghost town. The Enterprise Fish Company building is up for sale... when that place goes, I don't think it will even BE SB anymore. Now this? We cannot lose the Earl Warren Showgrounds!!!! What do we have to do to save it? I love it's hometown charm. I love how it's kind of run-down because Santa Barbara has become so uber wealthy in the last couple of decades it is unrecognizable. As for us non-rich locals, I'd sure like my town back.

sbpaddy Nov 22, 2019 11:05 AM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

EWS needs a fund drive to restore and clean up the buildings for it's use. There seems to be a lot of people that don't want to lose it (me included) nor what it does for the community. New paint always adds a shine.

Emmenanthe Nov 22, 2019 09:34 AM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

I agree with those who value Earl Warren showgrounds. I think the equestrian facility is unimaginatively underutilized. It is rather shocking to learn that there are no equestrian-oriented people on the Board?!

a-1575560093 Nov 22, 2019 09:32 AM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

Put St. George in charge and then just deny him from ever building anything.

Lucky 777 Nov 22, 2019 06:52 AM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

Rodeos and equestrian events are a success across the nation. They are a financial benefit to the communities that promote them, and a part of American culture. This is our unique facility, and with proper management could be a part of that success, as many of those event are hosted at multiple venues throughout the year and the competitors travel to them. The issue is that the facility has been mismanaged and allowed to run down into a shabby shell of its former self. Add to that the prices they charge for community groups' use have greatly increased, causing former participants to seek other locations.

biguglystick Nov 22, 2019 11:40 AM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

Rodeos are NOT a "success". Rodeos are antiquated cruel events that need to be banished. Animals are NOT here for our entertainment, for our abuse. We need to EVOLVE into kinder beings.

GrammaSB Nov 21, 2019 08:40 PM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

How disturbing that our community has become anti equestrian and a bunch of complainers. Save the showgrounds! The traffic that has stopped going to Ventura forTarget will now be the traffic to the Ventura county fairgrounds! The Earl Warren has been in our community since 1958 hosting many public and private events for all types of interest and now you complainers want it to stop being an equestrian center how sad, that's up there with the LA attorney that complained and I think sued over the SB Mission ringing it's bells during the day and waking up his napping Child. Welcome to Santa Barbara the city of beautiful mtn views, beaches over run by transients, ghost town state st with panhandlers, no shopping center, playgrounds where a parent can't play with their child if they are over 12 yrs of age or a sibling can't as well, an unfriendly law enforcement and sanctuary city. Save our equestrian/multi functional facility!

Get over it Nov 21, 2019 06:36 PM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

It IS a dump... I don't know the finances of it all, but SBC should definitely be supporting it. As a large animal evacuation site, it's invaluable for our area. Fix it up, promote more equine events and other live events and they may be able to strive. More Low-income housing is a ridiculous suggestion.

SBLetsGetAlong Nov 21, 2019 04:16 PM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

The showgrounds house everything from rodeos, horses, to fairs, to swap meet, rv shows, home improvement shows, Christmas tree lot, pumpkin lot, etc... It is also a command center for evacuations, and I don't see those ceasing anytime soon. The Farmers Mkt people are in an uproar about losing a parking lot and can easily be relocated to State St on Saturdays. How do you "relocate" all the afore mentioned events and needs? The Gov't wants to develop the show grounds into low income housing. The City should have used the Armory instead of selling it to the School District. That was 4 acres and we owned it, but nope, they didn't. And why are we trying to accomodate so many people living in SB? It's like a clown car, how many people can we jam in this tiny part of the world! If we have enough water and resources, why are our water bills so much higher than Montecito who doesn't have enough water? And just because we have resources today, does not mean we will have the resources in 10 years as the climate changes. Widen the freeway and let people commute!

a-1575560093 Nov 21, 2019 05:11 PM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

SBGETSALONG. You had me there, right up until you advocated for widening the 101.

Z Nov 21, 2019 04:05 PM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

Close the showgrounds. Expand Adams school and the golf course. Eat the horses.

CoastWatch Nov 21, 2019 02:50 PM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

Close EWS, have the State move the equestrian shows to the SYV, there are great properties for rodeos and horse events. EWS is not only an eyesore, but a taxpayer liability- Have the State sell the property to Homeless Inc. and build it up to increase Santa Barbara's Subsidized housing percentages from 21% of all housing units subsidized to 35%... Just think like a liberal-card-carrying ACLU member.

2contango Nov 21, 2019 01:16 PM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

I remember years ago someone suggested shifting the fairgrounds to Elings Park and developing the current site to include housing and commercial. The revenue stream from the development could help fund the fairgrounds ongoing operations cost.

Sal15puedes Nov 21, 2019 12:49 PM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

Dwight Murphy did a lot for this town, loved horses and wanted us all to also. It should be called the Dwight Murphy Showgrounds. I'm a newcomer here but I believe in the importance of preserving local identity. Hendix played there, should be a plaque.

pstarSR Nov 21, 2019 12:29 PM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

earl warren does more than just horse shows and horse stables. Lets not forget that the property is used for many things. and sometimes with changes in demand, certain things can be removed or changed. there's a lot of talk of mismanagement, but yet it seems that management is taking proactive steps to control costs, and try to save the property. How many horses stay there and generate income? how many horse shows do we host? in the end im pretty sure the management team looked at the numbers and are seeing the decline. It would be sad to lose the emergency facility to store horses, but no where in that business plan is it required for them to do that. You should support them how best you can and thank them for what they have done in the past. work with them if you want to save it, give them options not just complaining.

a-1575560093 Nov 21, 2019 05:17 PM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

If the Rodeo shows and loud Mexican music dance parties were banished, I certainly would not shed a tear. But Earl Warren Showgrounds needs to remain intact and serve as it has for so many years. We need a staging area in case of wildfire, we need a place for venues such as The Orchid Show. We need to keep equestrian events and maybe even add a few good rock concerts. Where would the fairs go? Rocks and Minerals shows, etc. It's great that people recycle their junk via the swap meets. We have enough housing already.

Sal15puedes Nov 21, 2019 12:52 PM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

there must be ways to expand community use, farmers markets, festivals. save and find more uses!

catwrangler Nov 21, 2019 11:55 AM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

I agree. I am not an equestrian person but the fairgrounds need to maintain their horse facilities if it were only for the frequent evacuations. There needs to be an area where large and small animals can go with their families during these times. The area is vital as a meeting and staging area.

SoCalMommy Nov 21, 2019 11:50 AM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

I agree with the above statements ^, especially the comment about the showgrounds being a vital evacuation resource for large animals. The issue is that EW Showgrounds has been so poorly managed that their lack of cash has led to the facilities deteriorating and they have no funds to repair/maintain the stables. I've often wondered if the stables are even fit to house these animals when they are evacuated there. It would be terrible to have someone evac their animal to EW only to have something collapse and lead to tragedy. The mismanagement has gone on so long it's going to take major cash flow to save it.

John Wiley Nov 21, 2019 11:20 AM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

Seems to me that the equestrian events at Earl Warren greatly enrich our regional culture, and without the E.W. facilities how would Fiesta change? If the facilities are targeted by the board, does that mean the mission of "reviving our agricultural and equestrian heritage" would be a plaque and photo wall?

horsegirl Nov 21, 2019 10:54 AM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

Not only what others have said already, but this is a HUGE resource for evacuations in our area. If the horse facilities are removed or even greatly downsized, it could lead to dangerous situations for horse owners evacuating from fires. I know that often people have to make multiple trips from their stables to Earl Warren and back to take a trailer load of horses at a time. If the nearest evacuation area for this becomes Buellton or Ventura, this could be extraordinarily dangerous for the horses waiting for their turn to be evacuated given the massively increased travel times. And on top of all that, as we saw during the Thomas fire, our ways out of town are very easily cut off. We truly need to keep Earl Warren as a horse facility.

biguglystick Nov 22, 2019 11:46 AM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

You bring up one of the most important points in this whole argument. The showgrounds are a very important evacuation resource! In the coming times, climate change will have us needing that space again and again. Fires are the new normal. KEEP the showgrounds! We have a lot of private equestrians in Santa Barbara County. The EWS is worth keeping if only for the evacuation purposes alone. I love EWS and grew up going to shows and fairs there. I love the PP book sale every year, it's an important community resource. I'd love to see any and all rodeos using animals ditched, though. Rodeos are cruel.

Factotum Nov 21, 2019 10:49 AM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

Earl Warren Showgrounds is broken. Just listen to the noise they maliciously blast out well into the surrounding neighborhoods during their "concert" events. They destroyed any local sympathy for their continued operations.

Flicka Nov 21, 2019 10:25 AM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

Many years ago the board of Earl Warren wanted to move the equine showgrounds to somewhere in Goleta so they could develop the property. When shows come to town the whole area around Earl Warren benefits. Restaurants, hotels, and other businesses get the business of visiting horse owners. During those many years ago during the attempt to close the horse operation at EW a study of this was done by local horse folks and the money dropped during big horse shows was amazing. Having no horse owners on the board of an equine center is not a good sign. Good luck going against them this time.

REX OF SB Nov 21, 2019 10:41 AM
Save Earl Warren Showgrounds

I'm not particularly fond of horses and have zero interest in equestrian rodeos, horse shows, etc.—however, Earl Warren Showgrounds is (are?) nationally acclaimed, and, as Flicka states, the horsey events bring a huge amount of business and lots of $$$ to the community, not to mention prestige. Why in the world would the Board even consider removing equine facilities? That is a terrible idea on so many fronts. Leave things alone. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

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