The show must go on | Livestock



Photo by Kylene Scott.

The pandemic shut down many rodeos from coast to coast in 2020. For some, the show took place at a later date, while others focused on 2021. Economic conditions forced some sponsors to rodeo to withdraw their dollars and committees to limit their additional purses. .

Rodeo competitors who make their living participating in professional rodeo events suffered the most when their source of income was limited or even lost. And those rodeos that managed to have an event registered a record number of entries. The committees planning the events of 2021 are even more optimistic.

The 91st Annual Woodward Elks Rodeo was held June 9-12 in Woodward, Oklahoma. The 2021 rodeo was actually easier to plan, said Chris Charmasson, committee treasurer.

“We are 99% sure that we will arrive this year,” he said. “Last year was a whole different story. We held our breath all the time we could stop. “


Photo by Kylene Scott.

All it took was a phone call from the Governor of Oklahoma or the City of Woodward to close the rodeo in 2020. But the call never came, and the show was able to go on with what Charmasson had. called “a lot of extra precautions.”

“We had signs everywhere urging people to distance themselves socially,” he said. “We had hand sanitizer everywhere and masks were available for anyone who wanted them – planes at all gates. “

One of the challenges the organizers faced was the free meal they serve to spectators each evening.

“We’ve changed that a bit, where instead of going through a line – kind of like a buffet line – even if it’s served to them,” he said. “We had the meals prepared in boxes so they could just drop by and get a box. There was less contact this way.

The extra planning and extra expense paid off for them as the spectators showed up. Charmasson worried that he could pay contractors and other staff at previously agreed rates.

“We were really holding our breath and didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “Fortunately, we were able to pay our contract staff what their contracts were originally. “

Everything went well for the Elks committee and for Charmasson he was grateful.

“We were pretty worried about it,” he said. “We’re one of the first rodeos to go there and a lot of rodeos, because we’ve been there, we took inspiration from us and also took a chance.”

Dr RC Trotter called the 2020 Dodge City Roundup Rodeo for the record books.

Not necessarily because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but because it was the best in the arena. Sunday’s short-term performance featured 16 world champions. According to the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association, the DCRR paid out an impressive $ 401,285.

As chairman of DCRR, Trotter is also a health worker and doctor in Dodge City. Prior to the 2020 rodeo, the committee set a goal that once COVID-19 cases hit a number and death rates were low, they would go ahead and host the rodeo.

“When we got to that number, we decided to go do a rodeo,” he said.

Almost all of their sponsors have been renewed, except maybe one or two, due to economic difficulties. But the committee was successful in selling new sponsorships to fill in the gaps. Ticket sales were also promising.

“All of our premium seats sold out immediately,” he said.


Photo by Kylene Scott.

The PRCA was pushing Trotter and the committee to organize the rodeo, calling him frequently to see if it would work out. The committee found out that they would receive additional sponsor money and that the rodeo would be televised on Cowboy. The extra funds helped the budget, Trotter says.

“That’s why we went ahead and basically had a rodeo as usual,” he said.

The committee has COVID-19 precautions in place, including sanitation stations and other things.

“Overall attendance has dropped by around 30%. Most of it went on Wednesday and Thursday evening and everything went pretty well Friday, Saturday and Sunday, ”said Trotter. “So from a spectator point of view, we were down but we did well.”

On the competitor’s side, however, he will likely go down in history as “the absolute best rodeo of all time in Dodge City”.

“Because we filled every event completely, when like in years past, we ran out of bareback riders and things like that,” he said. “And that’s because they had nowhere else to go, and not a big rodeo like this.”

The competition in the arena was exceptional and Trotter helped the committee through the rough patch.

“So 2020 has been a great year for us,” he said. “Financially, we got away with it. From a rodeo perspective this was the best rodeo we have ever had.

Trotter expects the 2021 rodeo operations to be successful while meeting the needs and challenges. The committee is working on the north stands as well as other areas of the arena that need attention. There could be issues with the cattle contractor getting enough cattle for the timed event.

“There aren’t enough USDA inspectors at the Mexican border to ship the cattle. That’s where some of the steer and steer cattle come from, ”he said. “But I don’t think anyone will notice the slightest difference.”


Photo by Kylene Scott.

Subcontractors will fix the issues and Trotter is hoping 2021 will be another big year. With the reopening of the country, he expects more spectator participation.

“I greeted everyone who left last year with a handshake,” Trotter said. “The feeling among those who showed up was just overwhelming, thank you for doing this, we needed this, we needed some normalcy in our community.”

Dodge City Days is back for 2021 and Trotter is hoping that with all the events going on in the community during this time, people will come to the rodeo. It is scheduled for August 3-8 at Roundup Arena in Dodge City, Kansas.

“We are happy that they can go, because we are a real partnership with them,” he said. “It works well. Competitors love the rodeo.


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