In a recent press release, the Norwood Roping Club (NRC) announced over the last 10 years the local rodeo has faced challenges. Held since 1904 at the San Miguel County Fairgrounds, revenue from attendance has decreased, while expenses for the event have increased. Those hoping to see the tradition continue met on June 5 at the Norwood Community Center.
“Is it a change in times and people don’t want to see a rodeo? Do you think the community still wants it? Is everybody here willing to help put it on?” asked Aaron Elwood, NRC president, at last week’s meeting. “We’re to the point now where we can’t continue the way we are going.”
The NRC makes no profit from producing the event. According to Elwood, it barely breaks even. It takes $10,000 to get the stock contractor on site, and it costs the same for the contestant payout. In total, it costs the NRC about $30,000 to host the event. Only a handful of roping/ranching families work on organizing it.
For simplicity, the NRC has now created a sponsorship structure that includes various benefits for those who donate to the event. Still, more changes and additional support are needed.
At least 20 community members were in attendance as people offered various suggestions.
Local horseman Liz Foley said for years she’s had an idea regarding transportation: She’d like to see a shuttle run back and forth to Telluride. That, she said, would encourage both attendance and beer consumption. Foley asked if the county could help this year with shuttle costs.
Scott Snyder, of Mex & Sons, suggested selling tickets online beforehand. He said the NRC could throw in a discount or beverage offer to people who bought tickets in advance online.
NRC member Regan Snyder said her group should include the Telluride resort hotels. She said there must be a way to get those hotels to buy tickets to give to guests in a package deal.
DeeAnna Burbridge, county fairgrounds coordinator, was present and taking notes for Janet Kask, county open space director. Burbridge said she was sure the county would support the rodeo in some manner.
Town Clerk Gretchen Wells, Mayor Kieffer Parrino and Trustee Kerry Welch were in attendance. The Town of Norwood gives $500 to the rodeo annually.
At the meeting, Elwood said the five NRC families who produce rodeo need more manpower. Elwood announced newly formed committees that anyone in the community is welcome to join. Those include committees on promotion, set-up, sponsorship, tear-down, special performances, beer sales, food vendor booths and more.
This year’s rodeo is scheduled for July 26-27 and includes the junior (youth) rodeo, which competitors from throughout the state have described as one of the best around because of the organization and prizes.
There seems to be much work in store for those assisting the NRC to pull off a July deadline. But, NRC board members said at last week’s meeting that with help, the two-day rodeo can still be produced.
Foley said it’s time to reach out and spread the word that the county’s rodeo is dying. She described the rodeo as an “endangered species,” which should be saved.
“That’s why we called this meeting,” Elwood said. “We need help. We’re hoping everyone in the community still wants it and can contribute.”
Anyone who’d like to help should contact Snyder at 970-210-3447.
Editor’s note: The story originally ran in the Wednesday edition of The Norwood Post, the Daily Planet’s sister publication.