New members commit to board's tradition of work

Directors work year-round to put on 21 great shows

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Growing up in Montana, Jim Woods spent a lot of time at rodeos.

An opportunity to join the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series Board of Directors was a chance to remain a part of that lifestyle.

"I've always been impressed by the Steamboat rodeo," said Woods, a businessman and part-time Steamboat Springs resident.

Woods joins Michael Sisk, a local orthopedic surgeon and rodeo competitor, as a new member of the volunteer board.

Their move to the board is no small commitment. Board members are involved in nearly every aspect of the rodeo, including securing sponsors, advertising, hiring staff, lining up livestock and making sure events run smoothly.

"There's a lot of work that goes on before the first cowboy leaves the chute," Woods said.

Much of the board's work focuses on the opening weekend of the series. From there, it's about fine-tuning details, board president John Shipley said.

As opposed to planning for a one- or two-day event, the series gives board members a little more bang for their time.

"We have an ongoing payoff because of the 10-week nature of the event," Shipley said. "The reward is stretched out to more accurately balance the time invested."

With varying backgrounds, each board member contributes to different aspects of the planning process.

Sisk, who has been riding bucking broncos since high school, is among the board members who have competed in rodeos.

"Coming from the contestant side of the fence, I have a lot of experience and suggestions that can be helpful to the board," he said.

Sisk also used his background as a physician to help put together a medical team to treat contestants' injuries -- and hardened attitudes.

"We're dealing with a very unique athlete ... These guys can be a challenge," he said. "The cowboy attitude is more to blow it off, ignore it."

Woods, who is co-owner of a Sinclair station in Steamboat Springs and has been involved in other business endeavors in the Yampa Valley, particularly enjoys budgeting and other financial aspects of the rodeo.

"They run a really tight ship," he said.

Other members of the board are longtime rodeo board chairman, Realtor and former rodeo cowboy Brent Romick, Steamboat Motors managing partner John Centner, attorney Ward Van Scoyk, truck driver Rod Lewin, First National Bank president John Kerst, lodging and industry consultant Steve Dawes, ski industry executive Charlie Mayfield, city rodeo grounds manager Jeff Nelson and rodeo administrator Char Mighton. Sisk replaced rodeo veteran Brett Brooks.

Van Scoyk is the series' treasurer; Lewin is arena director and Kerst, Mayfield, Dawes and Centner comprise the sponsorship committee.
Among the biggest challenges facing the board is to not be satisfied with the status quo, Shipley said.

"Regardless of what you do, there is always room for improvement," he said. "Over the last 10 years, we've identified what to improve, we did it and have gotten excellent feedback."

For example, the board rounded out entertainment at the rodeo with a clown/barrelman at every performance and top-notch specialty acts between competitions. The board also addressed shortcomings in the sound system and purchased an electronic score board that also scrolls sponsorship messages -- taking a burden off announcers.

Those improvements apparently paid off in 2002, when the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series received the "Best Small Outdoor Rodeo of the Year," -- the "Nobel Prize of rodeos" -- awarded by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

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