The Lamar City Council voted unanimously to have the city host the May 2016/2017 Colorado State High School Rodeo Association and Junior High School State Finals at the Prowers County Fairgrounds. The Prowers County Lodging Tax Panel approved a $32,000 commitment to support the bid to become the host city for two years during their monthly meeting late last year. The city and the county are also committing several thousand dollars of in-kind services and waiving some fees associated with hosting the rodeos which bring hundreds of visitors to the area for the annual event. Lamar Community College also offered the services of the college to help host the event as well as an offer of $7,500 in 15 rodeo scholarships to the state champions in the contest.
Under the provisions of the agreement, the funding accompanies a bid from a community to host the events for two years. Lamar was the host city in 2012-2013 before they went to Craig, CO. This year’s bid due date was January 8th. City Administrator, John Sutherland, announced during the January 11th meeting, that Lamar had been chosen. The rodeos will be held at the Prowers County Fairgrounds May 26-30 this year and the Memorial Day Weekend in 2017. A letter to Prowers County from Sherri Schlegel, CSHS secretary, stated over 150 students and their parents could be anticipated for each of the two years which would impact motels, restaurants, grocery stores, feed stores and gas station outlets as well as the general retail sector.
Danielle Wollert, representing the Association, explained late last year to the Lodging Tax Panel, that Pueblo had made a bid to host the finals next summer. She said that Pueblo, which has hosted the Little Britches National Finals, was informed that event is moving to Oklahoma. “They asked us if we would consider moving the Junior’s event and offered us a bid to leave Prowers County,” she explained, adding, “The board talked about this scenario, and at this point, we would like to stay in Lamar if we can get a financial commitment.”
Some of the waivers from the city and county include the use of the Fairgrounds for the events as well as grounds upkeep estimated at $2,800; both the city and county will maintain daily trash collection and restroom cleaning at an estimated $1,054; the city will provide an on-site ambulance and medical personnel during the events at a $490 discount and LCC has offered to host an ice cream social/contestant meeting during the finals and provide the Wellness Center for an Association membership meeting and the closing awards banquet for an estimated savings of $1,170. The Lamar Chamber of Commerce and other local organizations will be available to sell tickets and collect money for the gate admissions. As in the past, revenues will be split 50/50 between the Association and Prowers County.
By Russ Baldwin
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