BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4)– The country’s highest altitude rodeo kicked off Saturday in Summit County. The Breckenridge town council is calling the PRCA ProRodeo an experiment.
The town is getting a cut of the tickets sold, but also they’re hoping it will be an economic driver for Breckenridge during a time when they say tourism lulls toward the end of summer.
“Pre-sale has been strong, especially for our VIP, and if the weather is good, then we’ll get quite a few people here,” said Brad Bays, who runs the stables at Breckenridge Mountain and other livestock-based businesses around town.
It’s a gamble the Breckenridge has invested in quite a bit.
“I think tomorrow night we’ll know if it’s a success. We know it’s already a success with contestants, having well over 100 contestants for a brand new venue is very big,” Bays said.
Bays says the dream of putting on a rodeo is finally coming true.
“This is a new activity for people to come out and enjoy rodeo and get the community together,” he said.
Many local residents say they never wanted the rodeo in the first place.
“It’s this cruel, inhumane, stressful antiquated activity,” Roy Savarick said.
Savarick says the town council ignored residents.
“A lot of folks in town were opposed to the noise and the dust and potential pollution and traffic and the city council tended to just ignore us,” Savarick said.
Bays is hoping this weekend will be so successful the town will be more willing for a long-term investment.
“We’re trying to do anything we can to address concerns,” Bays said. “We’ve put in this entire facility without raising any eyebrows, we’ve asked the community and there’s no issues so far.”
The original proposal was for every weekend this summer. The town council trimmed it down to just August and then Labor Day weekend.