While many around Wyoming believe Campbell County is flush with cash, that doesn’t mean it wants to wipe out a $340,000 reserve account to buy hundreds of port-a-potties.
That’s what the Cam-plex Multi-Event Facilities may have to do after signing a contract with the International Pathfinder Camporee last year. It includes a stipulation to set aside $340,000 in case the Camporee organization couldn’t secure enough portable toilets to handle the estimated 50,000 attendees when they come to Gillette next summer.
While local officials had hoped to not have to spend that money, the Camporee is calling it in.
International Camporees are worldwide gatherings to celebrate the importance and spiritual influence of the Pathfinder ministry. The event is scheduled for Cam-plex in August 2024.
Cam-plex Director Aaron Lyles estimates that the money is enough to buy 325 to 340 port-a-potties. If it does buy them, the facility also will have to figure out what to do with all those portable toilets after the Camporee is over.
In contrast, Gillette has been a frequent host for the National High School Finals Rodeo, the world’s largest rodeo. It begins next week at Cam-plex, and the NHSFR only requires 30 porta-a-potties for the weeklong event.
The next Camporee is scheduled to return to Cam-plex in 2029.
Fallback Becomes Reality
Although the toilet commitment was made as a fallback option, Campbell County officials now believe they may have to cough up the cash to pay for the port-a-potties.
The 2022 contract between the Campbell County Public Land Board and Pathfinder obligates Cam-plex to keep $340,000 on hand to buy portable toilets to supplement local supply and whatever the Camporee can supply. Campbell County and the city of Gillette jointly fund the part of the land board budget that goes toward capital expenses such as this.
The money is there, but members of the board had hoped to use it as a reserve in case a $750,000 Wyoming Outdoor Recreation grant for the facility to host the Camporee falls through.
The Camporee had reported about a year ago it had found toilets, but now Lyles says that this communication has changed. He said the land board had hoped to use the $340,000 toward other expenses associated with the Camporee.
“We certainly were optimistic we could’ve spent it on something else,” he said.
What Happens After?
Lyles is optimistic that the facility can either rent the toilets or possibly sell them after the event is over. The contract doesn’t appear to negate either of those options.
“Hopefully, we have some flexibility,” he said. “I hope to find someone from the local region to help us out.”
Cam-plex won’t be responsible for servicing the toilets, and Lyles said they will greatly exceed local servicing capacities. He said the job could take nine to 12 service trucks running two full shifts to service the port-a-potties, attending to one every five minutes.
Lyles said Tuesday afternoon it is still unknown if the Campbell County Public Land Board will have to buy the port-a-potties. He expects to speak with Camporee representatives sometime in the next week.
“It could be the problem’s already solved,” Lyles said.
Leo Wolfson can be reached at Leo@CowboyStateDaily.com.