Rodeo numbers buck up

Holiday weekend brings out record number of spectators

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Between the rain and fireworks, the attendance numbers for last week's Cowboys Roundup Days resembled a ride on the back of one of Bad Company's rank bulls.

The weekend's rodeos open--ed with soft numbers Friday and Saturday night, but they rebounded with one of the biggest rodeos ever at Brent Romick Rodeo Arena on Monday.

"The numbers were good," said John Shipley, president of the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series. "I think we had some weather during the critical decision-making periods on Friday and Saturday, which might have impacted our numbers."

The rodeo drew 1,126 people Friday night and 1,397 on Saturday. Although the numbers were not bad for a typical weekend in Steamboat, Shipley said the rodeo organizers had hoped to do better because of the holiday.

Late afternoon thunderstorms that brought heavy rain to the area just before Friday's rodeo may have scared people away. But by the time the rodeo got under way, the clouds had cleared, and it turned out to be a near-perfect night for a rodeo.

There was a similar threat Saturday that might have diminished numbers then, too.

But on Monday, a record crowd of 3,439 people attended the Fourth of July rodeo, helping to boost attendance numbers for the weekend. Monday's performance surpassed last year's holiday rodeo, which drew 3,339 people.

Shipley said the total number of 5,962 was down from last year, when the series set a three-day record of 6,348.

Aside from the weather, Shipley wasn't sure why the numbers for Friday and Saturday's rodeos were down this year. However, he thinks the publicity surrounding Monday's Fourth of July fireworks display definitely helped the rodeo.

"I think a lot of people have discovered that the rodeo grounds are the best place to watch the fireworks display," Shipley said. "It's great for the rodeo, because there's a good chance they will be back again next year."

But no matter the reasons, Shipley said he was happy that people decided to come out to the final rodeo of Cowboy Roundup Days, and he is hoping those numbers will give the weekly series some momentum headed into another big week.

"Rainbow Weekend is another traditionally strong week for us," Shipley said. "We are hoping for some good numbers."

The rodeo always is popular for visitors, and it will be local rodeo fans' last chance to see stock from the Bad Company Rodeo Company this season.

Stock contractor Mac Altizer has brought several top bulls and bucking horses in town for his two-week run.

-- To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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