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Wellsville works out hitches in annual Stampede Rodeo

October 9th, 2010 Posted in Opinion

By Storee Powell

WELLSVILLE–The City Council and rodeo committee agreed Wednesday to continue the newest part of the Founders’ Day celebration, the Wellsville Stampede Rodeo, despite coming up short on profits and only moderate attendance.

The rodeo takes place Labor Day weekend, which is the weekend prior to Wellsville Founders’ Day events, at the city’s rodeo arena. The event is paid for in part by Wellsville, with other funds coming from sponsors and event fees.

Rodeo committee member Evan Bankhead reported to the council that the second Wellsville Stampede Rodeo’s total income from entrance fees was $3,472, but they needed to make $5,000 more to break even.

Committee member Kurt Mitton said there were approximately 1,500 people at the event, but they would like to see more locals attend.

“We are not getting much local support is what it boils down to,” Mitton said. “We would have the stands filled if the town supported it.”

The entrance fee was $6 and the committee said they’d like to keep it at that so it is affordable for families to come. Mitton said the committee believes the price is reasonable, comparing Hyrum’s rodeo entrance fee at $8.

The committee attempted the first year to make money on concessions, but only made what they spend, Mitton said.

“It was a lot of work for not a lot of money. The money at the gate is where it’s at,” Mitton said.

The plan is to make the rodeo a long term event like Founder’s Day, Mitton said.

“We know it takes time for tradition to build,” Mitton said. “We feel good about how the rodeo went, but we are not satisfied, and we want to improve on it.”

This year, the rodeo’s circuit was changed to the Rocky Mountain Rodeo Association, committee member Phil Bankhead said. The first year there were nearly 85 contestants in the rodeo, and this year there were 177. Only ten of the contestants, however, were from the valley.

Another change that was successful, Bankhead said, was the stock contractor. “While the change of contractors did cost more, the performance was doubled,” he said.

One of the improvements the council and rodeo committee are discussing for next year is a later starting time for the Friday night portion, from 7 to 7:30 p.m. Mitton said this idea came from public feedback.

Another improvement will be to better the sound quality for the audience. Mitton said the problem is that the speakers above the ends of the bleachers are too loud. The committee has talked to a sound technician, and will resolve the problem by fanning speakers out to distribute sound more evenly for the whole audience.

Mitton said the goal is for the event to eventually be self-sustaining without asking the city for money.

Evan said that currently, the city is paying about $3,500 to rent extra bleachers, but they would like to see a new set of bleachers along the arena’s south fence to increase capacity and eliminate rental costs.

A problem encountered this year was lack of parking, Phil said. The plan is to double available parking next year by grading more areas for vehicles.

To improve local participation, Councilman Gary Bates proposed a kids’ rodeo parade as an introduction. This year, 15 local barrel-racing girls performed the introduction.

The council and committee agreed that next year the key to the event’s success will be more advertising of the rodeo and obtaining more event sponsors.

Bates said, “We are still in the learning curve, but we are confident it will get better every year, and it is coming to be part of Founders’ Day.”

Other items discussed at the meeting:

  • Founders’ Day: The celebration dinner may be canceled next year due to low attendance. Also, to improve sound of the Sham Battle, speakers may be roped off to prevent people from surrounding them. Cars will be towed that are parked illegally on 100 East. A time limit for setting up chairs to hold parade spots is being considered. Don Hartle, the city manager, reported that the celebration’s budget was adhered to, with $2.13 left.
  • The council said they are appreciative of the concerted effort of residents to keep the Wellsville Dam area clean. The council is considering making an adoption program to maintain the area.
  • The annual kids’ bike rally will take place in spring rather than this fall.
  • Also up for consideration at the next meeting is banning spice, a synthetic marijuana substance, which has already been banned in Providence, Logan, and Ogden. The council will study other recent ordinances to determine how if and how to structure the law.
  • The council wants to remind residents they need a permit before pouring cement for a structure more than 200 square feet.
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