BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – Despite a loud outcry from residents, Breckenridge has decided to move forward with a professional rodeo series this summer. The move is expected to boost tourism.
The town is hoping the rodeo will bring in more visitors during the slow summer months.
For Brad Bays and his wife Jamie they’re business is livestock. They run four different businesses revolving around horses in the town of Breckenridge during both the winter and summer. Now they’re adding one more.
“The idea of a rodeo has been on my mind for quite a few years, but it mainly came about from the number of guests asking for one,” Bays said.
But what tourists wanted isn’t something locals were quick to jump on board with.
“Our neighbors were definitely split. We got 200 emails; 100 for and 100 against; pretty vocal and emotional council meetings,” Breckenridge Mayor John Warner said.
Some people were against the treatment of the rodeo animals and others were concerned about pollution and traffic. But on the flip side, the town council saw it as an opportunity and approved turning a vacant parking lot into the rodeo grounds for 10 weekend nights in August and September — normally a slow time for tourism.
“We thought with the rodeo being a cool event, fun event, families may want to come up that second or third weekend in August,” Warner said.
The Bays are teaming up with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association to bring in more talent for all types of events.
“Saddle bronc, bull riding, mutton bustin’, steer wrestling, calf scramble,” Bays said.
While the town calls it an experiment, the organizers expect just as much success as other high country rodeos.
“We will prove to them this summer how successful an event it will be for the town of Breckenridge and that there is a big demand for that,” Bays said.
If it is successful the town will benefit not just from the tourism, but as part of their approval they’re taking a cut of the ticket sales.
The first rodeo night will be Aug. 4.