Town Council helps rodeo buck financial issues
The town of Snowmass is helping to keep the Snowmass Rodeo afloat for one more season.The Snowmass Town Council on Monday agreed to forgive the rodeo its annual $10,000 rent and allow it to postpone payment on a $40,000 loan until the end of the season.Additionally, Chris Kelly, executive director of the Snowmass Western Heritage Association, which runs the Snowmass Rodeo, told the council the association will drop the events from two days a week to once a week.The original contract with the town of Snowmass, which owns the land where the rodeo performs, stated that the rodeo was to offer shows two days a week. But Kelly said there is no way of maintaining that schedule while the rodeo is experiencing financial woes.”If we are in breach of contract,” Kelly said, “there’s not much we can do about it.”Snowmass Village Town Councilman Arnie Mordkin said the town is not going to force two rodeo days a week.”There’s nothing we’re going to do about it. The rodeo’s about to start.”Kelly hopes the Town Council’s recent actions are not simply tools to delay the demise of the Snowmass Rodeo, which, in its 33rd season, is one of the longest continuously running rodeos in the United States.However, the majority of tickets sold are to visitors rather than to locals, which, coupled with the expense of putting on a show, adds to financial instability. Costs are high due to livestock, prize money and $20,000 worth of insurance. The rodeo is also heavily dependent on private contributions.”We really need support from the community,” Kelly said.One idea to garner more support is to offer 10 percent discounts at Snowmass Village lodges when purchasing a rodeo ticket.”We’re hoping that will increase our advance sales,” Kelly said.The rodeo will also raise ticket prices by $1, making it $16 for adults and $10 for kids ages 11-15. Children under 10 are still free.Mordkin hopes the rodeo has a prosperous future.”It’s an important amenity to the community; it’s very important to our guests, and we should do whatever we can to make sure this amenity remains.”Fellow Councilman Bill Boineau may not agree, but he said he is rooting for the community to get behind the Snowmass Rodeo. Boineau voted against suspending the rent and delaying the loan payment.”Rodeos are a fun amenity, but when I don’t see the village supporting it, I can’t support it. I feel it’s not a priority for the community.”He added, “If I could see more duel marketing between the rodeo and the community then I’d more likely support the rodeo more than I currently do.” He said the change from two nights to one night a week is a good move.”It used to be that way awhile back. It was a good program. Two days a week just splits up the audience.”The Snowmass Village Rodeo runs from June 22 through Aug. 24. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the rodeo begins at 7 p.m. There is a special rodeo during Michael Martin Murphey’s Westfest, Saturday, July 2, at 5 p.m. For more information, call 923-8898.
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