Fair board chooses new president - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Fair board chooses new president

Clifford ‘Rip’ Rippetoe (Source: rsgnow.com) Clifford ‘Rip’ Rippetoe (Source: rsgnow.com)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – A new president and CEO will lead the future of former Kentucky Kingdom, Freedom Hall and numerous venues under the umbrella of the Kentucky State Fair Board.

Las Vegas businessman Clifford ‘Rip' Rippetoe is expected to start the job January 1, 2013.   Board members selected Rippetoe after interviewing another finalist Friday morning.  Current President Harold Workman resigned and will leave the post December 31.

Rippetoe's resume includes managing conventions, overseeing trade shows and booking concerts for venues similar to Freedom Hall and Broadbent Arena.  He also worked on the Salt Lake City Olympic committee in 2002. However, Rippetoe's experience managing tight budgets helped seal the deal for board members.

"He has a lot of experience in all facets of business," State Fair Board Chairman Ron Carmicle said.

Struggling venues await Rippetoe's arrival, including former Cardinal Stadium and Kentucky Kingdom.

The board is running a $5 million deficit. "He's helped produced events and shows.  He has a breadth of experience, in my opinion and has the financial expertise.  We need that level of support now," Carmicle said.

Rippetoe will earn an estimated $250,000 a year. He'll leave his convention consulting business behind in Las Vegas.  Contract provisions require Rippetoe to give up his salary or any income from his current position.

Carmicle confirmed not one candidate was from Louisville or even Kentucky. Chairman Carmicle also said Governor Steve Beshear did not participate in the process.  "He  has not been involved in it in any form or fashion.  Nor anyone in the governor's office."

Rippetoe could not be reached for comment.

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