Steamboat Springs West Fest promises to fill Steamboat Springs' Labor Day with plenty of cowboy traditions, but this year bull riding will not be one of them.
Brent Romick, who has organized the annual PBR Bull Riding Classic for the past two years, said Monday the event will not happen this year. However, he is planning to bring the very popular bull riding event back in 2002.
"I just didn't have the time to pull it off this year," Romick said. "I want this to be a well-organized, well-run event and we just couldn't meet the standards our fans have come to expect in the time frame we were given."
The promoter said the late addition of Michael Martin Murphey's West Fest to the summer calendar caused him to reconsider holding this year's bull riding event. He also said circumstances surrounding funding from the Chamber Resort Association also impacted the event.
Last year, the chamber picked up the entire $60,000 price tag to hold the event.
"It was our event last year," said Sandy Evans-Hall, executive vice president of the chamber.
However, when the chamber's budget got cut earlier this year, several local events were impacted.
"We identified a couple of events that we felt we could privatize and the bull riding was one of them," Evans-Hall said.
The chamber approached Romick with the idea of him taking over after the cut in funding, and he agreed to take over the responsibility of funding the event. The chamber would still help out a little, but most of the burden would fall on Romick.
Last year, the event lost $15,000. Evans-Hall said she thinks with a few minor changes, the event could break even or even make money in the future.
However, she said the addition of West Fest and the possibility of reducing the bull riding event's take at the gate may have changed Romick's approach to this year's event.
Romick said he feels like the bull riding event and the West Fest are very compatible events. However, to be successful, Romick said he needed more advanced notice about the scheduling of that event so he wouldn't be going head to head with West Fest.
Romick said he thinks the two can both be successful in Steamboat, but to do this, the Bull Riding Classic, which normally takes place Sunday afternoon, would need to be moved to the evening which would allow concertgoers to enjoy West Fest and the Bull Riding Classic the same day. Romick and Evans-Hall said they think the two events appeal to the same crowd.
Romick had kept hopes of holding the event until about three weeks ago, but he couldn't get any confirmation of when West Fest events were going to take place. He also decided it was going to take more planning and time than he had this year.
"I'm the happiest guy in town today," Romick said. "The rodeo season is behind me so I don't have to worry about that. I also don't have to worry about trying to pull off the bull riding event this week."
Romick said he wants to sit back this year and see how West Fest fares. If that event succeeds or fails, Romick still plans to resume the bull riding next year either as a Sunday afternoon or Sunday evening event.
"It is a very popular event," Romick said. "Especially with the locals."
The long-time rodeo promoter said he wants to see the bull riding event grow in the future and is hoping to add a golf tournament and other social events to draw top PBR sponsors.