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Rodeo attendance up

The State Rodeo Finals last weekend drew nearly double last year’s attendance, according to the Roughrider Rodeo Association of North Dakota.

Attendance for the three-day rodeo at the Jamestown Civic Center was over 2,500, said Greg Carlson, executive committee member of the Roughrider Rodeo Association. That is 1,100 more than the 1,400 spectators who attended in 2016, he said.

“I think it went really, really well and we are super happy,” Carlson said. “If we can keep going in that direction then we have got a hit on our hands.”

One-day adult tickets were reduced from $20 to $12 and children’s tickets from $10 to $8. The three-day pass prices were also reduced.

“We lowered the ticket prices to make it more affordable for families,” Carlson said.

A professional rodeo clown added fun for spectators and visited elementary schools to talk about the event, he said. The local business community was also helpful in generating interest, he said.

The revenue generated by the rodeo is not yet known but should turn a profit, Carlson said. The rodeo finals have a nearly $1 million impact on the community through hotels and restaurants, he said.

The Jamestown City Council renegotiated a one-year contract with the Roughrider Rodeo Association to hold the state finals at the Jamestown Civic Center. The Roughrider Rodeo assumes more of the costs under the new contract.

“The contestants love coming to Jamestown and we want to keep this event going,” Carlson said. “Hopefully, we will continue to get City Council support and we will ask for a five-year contract.”

The venue rent and dirt placement were paid by the city, said Pam Fosse, director of the Jamestown Civic Center. That gave the rodeo a $7,000 head start toward a profit, she said.

“They were able to obtain a greater amount of sponsorships and create additional revenue sources and I think they did very well,” Fosse said.

The Civic Center recoups some costs through concessions and the hotel and restaurant tax revenue but that will not likely cover the cost of the rental and dirt, she said.

“But the event itself is beneficial to the community,” Fosse said. “I think that is the concept that everybody continues to look at and the important thing is to continue providing a community event that people enjoy.”