Rodeo state finals could come to Craig | CraigDailyPress.com
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Rodeo state finals could come to Craig

Ben Bulkeley

At a glance

Recenly, the Craig City Council and Moffat County Tourism Association and contributed the following amounts to Dave Fleming's bid to bring the rodeo state finals to Craig:

• $2,500 from the Craig City Council.

• $5,000 from the MCTA.

Moffat County also donated free use of the Moffat County Fairgrounds, which Fleming said would end up being worth about as much as the other donations.

However, in-kind services can't be factored into the $10,000 donation required by the Colorado State High School Rodeo Association. The effort still needs:

• $2,500 for the Rodeo Association.

• $2,000 for two saddle prizes.

Fleming expects the rodeo to attract 120 to 150 people to Craig.

At a glance

Recenly, the Craig City Council and Moffat County Tourism Association and contributed the following amounts to Dave Fleming’s bid to bring the rodeo state finals to Craig:

• $2,500 from the Craig City Council.

• $5,000 from the MCTA.

Moffat County also donated free use of the Moffat County Fairgrounds, which Fleming said would end up being worth about as much as the other donations.

However, in-kind services can’t be factored into the $10,000 donation required by the Colorado State High School Rodeo Association. The effort still needs:

• $2,500 for the Rodeo Association.

• $2,000 for two saddle prizes.

Fleming expects the rodeo to attract 120 to 150 people to Craig.

If all goes according to plan, Moffat County’s rodeo count could double.

Dave Fleming, former Moffat County High School rodeo sponsor, said he was contacted by Bruce McAdow, Colorado State High School Rodeo Association president, about the possibility of bringing the 2010 and 2011 CSHSRA State Finals to the Moffat County Fairgrounds.

On Tuesday, the Craig City Council gave $2,500, and the County Commissioners allowed free usage of the Fairgrounds. On Wednesday, the Moffat County Tourism Association followed those contributions with $5,000 of its own.

Fleming told the MCTA board he was pleasantly surprised by the feedback from the three entities.

With $7,500 cash in hand, Fleming said only $2,500 would be needed to bring the rodeo to Moffat County, plus an additional $2,000 for prize saddles, which he hopes to raise with local business sponsorships.

“Last Tuesday, I received a letter asking Craig to bid on the rodeo,” Fleming said. “Now, I’ve been going around gathering support to attract the finals to come here.”

Some officials want to use the rodeo as a springboard to attract more events to the Fairgrounds.

Any money received from admissions and lot fees should be used to try to attract more rodeos, MCTA member Diane Brannan said.

“The more we improve it, the more events we might be able to have come in,” she said.

The rodeo would be expected to bring more than 120 contestants and their families to Craig for five days, which Fleming said would provide a financial boost to the area.

“I think, No. 1, it brings people into the community,” Fleming said. “They won’t just be here; they’ll be here for a pretty good length of time.

“Those people will require certain accommodations that will benefit the town, too.”

Having people visit the town might inspire future visits, as well, Fleming said.

“No. 2, it gives those people an opportunity to see what Craig has to offer for future vacations,” he said. “We hope those people will come back and come to other rodeos we have.”

Craig, along with Cortez and Lamar, is one of three cities offered a chance to bid for the finals.

Fleming thinks Craig has one advantage to the other two cities.

“Our facilities are topnotch,” he said. “Our outdoor facilities are really good, and I think we can compete with anyone in the state with the facilities we have.”

This isn’t the first time Craig has applied for the rodeos, he added.

The last time, about five years ago, the Rodeo Association bucked the proposal because of a lack of electrical hook-ups at the Fairgrounds.

Now, with those amenities in place, Craig’s chances are much improved, Fleming said.

Feedback from the rodeo participants who visited Craig for the Moffat County Little Britches Rodeo in July made Fleming feel confident about the community’s chances of landing the Finals.

“Some high school people who went to Little Britches said the state should come and see what we do with our rodeos,” he said. “They said we really know how to put one on.”

Fleming said the finals would be the same weekend as another event Craig is good at putting on: Whittle the Wood Rendezvous.

He hopes they can help one another, boosting attendance at both.

“That provides something else for people here to do,” he said. “The hope is, Whittle the Wood may be able to attract people at the rodeo. It’s a win-win for everybody involved.”

Through the two events, Craig would receive a lot of positive attention, Fleming said.

“Craig has never been a host (of the Finals), to my knowledge,” Fleming said. “Since I’ve been involved, the finals have never been on the Western Slope.

“It would be a chance to showcase our community to people throughout the state.”


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