Rodeos hang tough

| Print |  Email
Archives - August 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
ATS_Rodeo
Joey Bell Jr. of Texas split the win in the steer wrestling competition at the St. Paul rodeo.
PHOTO BY BILL LAWLESS

Oregon’s rodeos are maintaining their balance despite hefty jostling by the state’s rough riding economy.

Representatives of state rodeos that had taken place by early July put attendance and ticket sales at the same level or higher than last year, a feat they attribute to lower gas prices and budget-conscious consumers sticking close to home. Some events have lost sponsors, but organizers say other businesses are readily filling the gaps.

At least seven of the state’s 19 Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association-affiliated rodeos take place before or during “Cowboy Christmas,” the first week of July and traditionally the busiest time of year on the pro circuit. This year, in addition to higher ticket sales, local rodeo organizers say they paid out the same or more in prize money to the cowboys who swing through town for bronc riding, calf roping and other events. In 2008, Oregon rodeos paid close to $2 million in prize money, according to the PRCA.

About 43,000 people bought $600,000 in tickets during the early July St. Paul Rodeo. Crowds may not have spent as much on cotton candy and carnival rides as in years past, and a few sponsors dropped out, but overall the event was a winner, says Bill Smith, arena director for the nonprofit group that runs the 74-year-old rodeo. “Our large sponsors held tight with us. They know the economy’s going to turn around and they’re in it for the long term,” Smith says.

Ticket sales for Jackson County’s Wild Rogue Pro Rodeo were about the same as they were last year, “which in this economy, we’ll take,” says Chris Borovansky, CEO of Jackson County Fairgrounds & Exposition in Central Point, which runs the event. The late-May rodeo drew 9,000 people and brought $1.5 million into the area.

The Pendleton Roundup, the state’s biggest rodeo that opens mid-September, typically brings $23 million into eastern Oregon, and so far ticket sales for this year’s event are strong. A few sponsors have bailed, but others have lined up to replace them, says Carl Culham, a rodeo spokesman.

With gas prices much lower than they were last summer, pro cowboys can afford to travel to more competitions, one reason rodeos nationwide are seeing an uptick in entrants, says Bobby Mote, a two-time world champion bareback rider who lives in Culver.

Hard times are part and parcel of the cowboy way, Mote says. “You go through stages where you have a lot of cash and things are going good, then three or four months go by and things get tight so you make adjustments,” he says. “It was like that three years ago when the economy was good, and it’s like that now.”

MICHELLE V. RAFTER
 

More Articles

No Boundaries

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Floor plans embrace the great wide open.


Read more...

Credit Unions Perspective

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Gene Pelham, CEO of Rogue Credit Union.


Read more...

6 things to know about the Amtrak Cascades route

The Latest
Friday, May 22, 2015
thumb3BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The recent tragedy in Philadelphia has called attention to Amtrak and the nation's woefully underfunded rail service. Here are six facts about the Amtrak Cascades corridor between Eugene and Vancouver B.C. 


Read more...

Eco Zoned

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY HANNAH WALLACE

Travelers have always come to Oregon for its natural beauty. But will the increasing popularity of agritourism, European-style hiking getaways and forest resorts relax Oregon's notoriously strict land-use laws?


Read more...

Cherry Raincoat

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Spring rains are the bane of an Oregon cherry farmer’s existence. Even a few sprinkles can crack the fruit so badly it’s not worth picking. Science to the rescue: Researchers at Oregon State University have developed a spray-on film that cuts rain-related cracking in half, potentially saving a season’s crop. The coating, patented as SureSeal, is made from natural chemicals similar to those found in the skins of cherries: cellulose, palm oil-based wax and calcium.


Read more...

5 things to know about veterans in the workforce

The Latest
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
070215-vetsthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

There are more than 10 million former military members working in the United States.


Read more...

100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

As momentum grows at the state level to introduce far-reaching environmental regulations, such as carbon pricing and the Clean Fuels Program, Oregon employers continue to go the extra mile to create green workplaces for their employees.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS