Ryan Jones and the Mackay Team Roping Club have until the end of the month to remove nearly 15 tons of hay from the Mackay Rodeo Grounds, Mackay City Council members say.

Jones wrote City Council members saying he’d like to rent space at the rodeo grounds to store the hay. The bales were purchased for the roping club. He overestimated how much hay the new club’s animals would need and now needs a place to store the hay until roping resumes next year.

Mayor Wayne Olsen said it’s not a good idea to store the hay on city property. While there are other concerns, Olsen said one that quickly came to mind was it could set a bad, messy precedent at the rodeo grounds.

“Once a stack yard, always a stack yard,” he said.

Another concern is maintenance, Olsen said. As the hay gets scattered, someone will have to clean it up. The roping club didn’t maintain animal pens to the city’s standards and failed to clean them even after it was pointed out, which Olsen said set a bad track record.

And, Olsen worries that children may think the hay stacks could be a fun place to play. If someone gets hurt playing in the hay, Olsen said the city could be liable.

While Jones pointed out the city could use the revenue from a rent arrangement, council members agreed with Olsen and said it isn’t worth the potential risks. Councilman Greg Blackwell said “deer will be all over” the hay, causing nuisances. Council member Wally Wallin said he wants the hay gone before snow falls and it gets wet.

Jones’s letter led to a larger conversation about whether the city will allow roping club members to use the rodeo grounds next year. Along with failing to clean the pens, Olsen said they didn’t pay the $200 damage deposit. They also didn’t feed their animals properly, according to Olsen, which was a responsibility city workers had to assume.

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