At their weekly meeting Monday morning, county commissioners accepted the deed to the quarter-section of land donated by John Thomas "Tom" Kiplinger of rural McCook.
In 2002-03, a $600,000 donation from Tom Kiplinger and a $38,000 anonymous donation were used to build the original "Kiplinger Arena," a 42,000-square-foot heated indoor arena whose purpose it was, according to Kiplinger's dreams and plans, to promote agriculture and his love of horses and the sport of rodeo.
These projects -- as well as additional stalls, pens and handling facilities built since 2002 -- have been built and are operated and maintained without funding from taxpayers. With events scheduled almost every weekend throughout the year, the Kiplinger is self-supporting and does not require a tax levy for its operations, maintenance or promotion.
After gifting 160 acres of land to the county and commissioners accepting it Monday morning, Tom said he is proud that his arenas are not financed with tax payer money, that they're not an additional expense for Red Willow County property owners and tax payers.
In April 2013, Tom created an endowment fund and agreement, "The Tom and Alice Kiplinger Endowment Fund," to take care of the Kiplinger and Trudy arenas and nearby pens, stalls and handling facilities into perpetuity. Alice was Tom's mother; in the late 1980s, as they prepared estate funds, she encouraged her son to build an indoor arena that ropers, like himself, would use year-round. Alice died in 1992, four years before Tom's dream of an indoor arena became a reality.