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

5 ways successful people kickstart the day

The Latest
Thursday, April 02, 2015
coffeethumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Are mornings the most productive part of the day?  We ask five successful executives how they get off to a good start.


Read more...

Fighting Fire With Fire

May 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
BY BEN DEJARNETTE | INVESTIGATEWEST

Timber companies and environmental groups take a stab at collaboration to boost logging and restoration in Oregon fires.


Read more...

6 development projects reshaping Bend

The Latest
Thursday, April 09, 2015
bendthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Bend has reclaimed its prerecession title as one of the fastest growing cities in the country.


Read more...

5 questions for inDinero CEO Jessica Mah

The Latest
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
jessicathumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

inDinero, a business that manages back-office accounting for startups and smaller companies, recently announced it would relocate its headquarters from San Francisco to Portland. We talked to CEO Jessica Mah about what drew her to Portland and how she plans to disrupt the traditional CPA model.


Read more...

VIDEO: The 2015 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015

videothumbVIDEO: 2015 100 Best Companies to work for in Oregon


Read more...

Much ado about data-driven organizations, for good reason

Contributed Blogs
Monday, April 13, 2015
bigdatathumbBY GRANT KIRBY | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

The mega-shift from technology-driven to data-driven organizations raises questions about Oregon’s workforce preparedness.


Read more...

Car Talk

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Everyone knows cell phones and driving are a lethal combination. The risk is especially high for teenage drivers, whose delusions of immortality pose such a threat to us all. Enforcement alas, remains feeble; more promising are pedagogical approaches aimed at getting people to focus on the road, not their devices.


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