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October 8, 2012
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Breckenridge report: Inaugural rodeo ran smoothly

Breckenridge's first rodeo, hosted for five weekends on a trial basis this summer, went off with hardly a hiccup, according to a recently released report from town staffers.

Organizers now want to continue the event for an 11-week run next summer.

The rodeo sparked a wave of concerns and complaints from community members when it was first proposed earlier this year. Locals were worried about everything from the noise and dust it might cause to the environmental impacts and the treatment of animals involved.

But over the course of five weeks the rodeo accumulated only a handful of complaints and elicited glowing reports from professionals monitoring animal welfare.

"We had very, very few issues," Breckenridge spokeswoman Kim Dykstra-DiLallo said. "It was a really positive experience all the way around."

Of Breckenridge business owners surveyed after the rodeo, 75 percent were supportive of the event, although as many as 40 percent said they didn't think it benefitted their business.

The rodeo, officially billed the Breckenridge PRCA ProRodeo, ran weekends from Aug. 4 through the beginning of September at the town-owned overflow skier parking lots located on the north end of Breck.

Town staffers received only one complaint about the smell from the event and three complaints about the noise, according to the staff report.

The Riverwalk Center technical staff were able to tweak the sound system to greatly reduce the noise from the event.

Rodeo organizers also took steps to control water runoff from the grounds into the Blue River and prevent water contamination.

There were no complaints about dust from the event, and although local law enforcement was on hand during all five weekends, there was only one police contact when rodeo spectators were reportedly throwing shoes at vehicles. No damage was done, according to the staff report.

No humans were seriously hurt during the event and there was only one instance of an animal injury. A bull "went down" in the stripping chute and was treated by an on-site veterinarian.

Summit County Animal Control officers who monitored the rodeo said it was, "extremely professional" and "animals were being cared for extremely well," the staff report stated.

The town approved the event with a special permit that included specific regulations and requirements intended to mitigate the community's concerns. Dykstra-DiLallo said event organizers "came through with flying colors," on the stipulations for the event and "actually went above and beyond on a few items."

"Without the entire special event process, we would not have known what was needed and would not have been prepared for this event," rodeo sponsor and owner of the Breckenridge stables Brad Bays is quoted as saying in the staff report. "We would have been lost."

Not everyone was thrilled with the event, however.

"The rodeo is stupid, boring and involves animal cruelty," one survey respondent stated. "I do not think that Breckenridge should ever host such an event in the future."

Approximately 1,000 people attended the rodeo each night, far outpacing the expected crowds of 250-500 per day. But the event cost Bays three times more than expected as well, according to the staff report.

The Breckenridge Town Council will recap and discuss the first rodeo at a work session at 4 today in the auditorium at the Breckenridge Town Hall.

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The Summit Daily Updated Oct 9, 2012 04:49PM Published Oct 8, 2012 10:19PM Copyright 2012 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.