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big iron hoop building

New hoop building on the Big Iron grounds.

WEST FARGO, N.D. – Sometimes a building situation arises on a farm or ranch that demands a quick response. Earlier this year, the Red River Valley Fair and the Big Iron Farm Show were faced with a similar circumstance – an immediate solution was needed to solve the loss of a building on the fairgrounds. Like many farmers are doing today, the fairgrounds decided to erect a hoop building to fill the need.

This new hoop building accomplished two things: first, it solved a need for an exhibit structure for the fair earlier this summer, as well as for the upcoming Big Iron Farm Show; and second, it provides a place for those visiting Big Iron a testament on the capabilities of a hoop building, according to Emily Grunewald, Big Iron coordinator.

It all started with heavy snowfall during a late-winter snowstorm that caused part of the roof on Harvest Hall, which is at the north end of the fairgrounds, to collapse on March 15. As a result, demolition work started on March 28 on the 60-foot by 200-foot building that was built back in 1979. At about the same time, a search was started by the fair board to decide on a replacement for the building, since the fair was scheduled on start on July 9.

Western Farm Sales at Oakes, N.D., has been exhibiting at Big Iron for about as long as the show has been in existence, according to owner Glenn Lemier, and for at the past 20 years have had a small hoop building model as part of their Big Iron display. But this year, Big Iron visitors will have the chance to see an actual hoop building since the Red River Valley Fair Association decided to replace the old Harvest Hall with a hoop building from Western Farm Sales.

 “The foundation was already there and it was set up for a 60-foot-wide building, so we figured something out for length and availability and it worked,” Lemier said. “There is only so much you can see on a model, but when you get a complete building in place, it’s that touching and feeling the customer can experience. They can be inside an actual building and then make a determination if it will work for them or if there are any alternations that can be done to make it work for them.”

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Some question the durability and longevity of a hoop building, but a hoop building is like any type of structure, if you maintain things, keep doors closed when they should be closed, the building will have a life similar to a post-frame building, Lemier noted.

“The fabric that covers a hoop building usually has a 15-year warranty and we have several buildings that have been up longer than that with the original fabric still on the building,” he said.

Grunewald said about the structure, “It is a beautiful building and it has worked out great for us. You don’t have to think about using it in the farming industry – you can really use it for just about anything.”  

Lemier is looking forward to the Big Iron Farm Show, when visitors can step inside an actual hoop building.

“We appreciate the Red River Valley Fair for giving us the opportunity and we hope this hoop building will help them out for a long time. When people come through the building during the show they will be able to see all the possibilities a hoop building offers,” he said.

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