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Jamestown Tourism funds rodeo state finals

The North Dakota Roughrider Rodeo Association received funding from Jamestown Tourism on Thursday for its state finals event in October at the Jamestown Civic Center.

The Jamestown Tourism Grant and Executive Committee voted 3-0 to award $7,500 to the North Dakota Roughrider Rodeo Association. Board members Taylor Barnes and Mitzi Hager were not present.

Pam Phillips, a Jamestown City Council member and liaison between the City Council and Jamestown Tourism, said in the past the Jamestown Civic Center had requested Jamestown Tourism dollars on behalf of the North Dakota Roughrider Rodeo Association State Finals event. The Civic Center tax identification number may now only be used for events organized by the Civic Center, she said.

Marlyn Bertsch and Greg Carlson, members of the North Dakota Roughrider Rodeo Association board, were present with a $12,500 request for the rodeo. Responsibilities for continuing the event will change with a new contract with the host venue, Jamestown Civic Center, they said.

The 2016 rodeo finals drew 215 contestants mostly from central and western North Dakota, according to the application. Approximately 2,000 people attended the event, and Jamestown saw an estimated $948,400 in economic impact.

The participation and attendance has increased after the event was moved past the crop harvest period, Bertsch said. This has led to increased revenues, and work is ongoing to reduce unnecessary costs, he said.

The 2017 event expects to raise $8,000 from ticket sales and $20,000 from sponsors, according to the application.

Jamestown Tourism Executive Director Searle Swedlund recommended supporting the event up to $7,500, the same amount awarded in 2016. He encouraged Grant and Executive Committee members to consider applying a declining scale model to encourage events toward eventual self-sufficiency and to free up funds for other events.

"The intention of the funds is not to subsidize them forever," Swedlund said.

Board members said the summer rodeo at the Stutsman County Fairgrounds and the state finals competition at the Civic Center in October are both events that help define Jamestown and should continue to be supported as a major draw to the community. The members said they were pleased to hear of more effort from North Dakota Roughrider Rodeo Association State Finals organizers to increase attendance, locate outside sources of funding and reduce event costs for the state finals event.

With two absent board members and two more members with conflicts of interest, two more grant applications were moved to a special meeting prior to Jamestown Tourism's regular board meeting on Monday.