BRECKENRIDGE - The Breckenridge Town Council gave the PRCA ProRodeo that debuted on the overflow skier parking lots this summer the thumbs up Tuesday to return again next year for a longer run.
The rodeo will open in June and continue over 11 weekends through the summer.
The decision followed enthusiastic support for the event from the community after this year's five-week trial run.
"It really did go off well," Breckenridge Mayor John Warner said. "I think this is a decision that will work."
Most of the council members were reluctant to approve the rodeo for 11 weekends - essentially the entire summer - after the possible noise, smell and other issues raised concerns among neighbors, but ultimately approved the extended event schedule when owner Brad Bays said the rodeo wasn't financially viable on a shorter time frame.
"The main reason why we need to do this is to make it a viable business," Bays told the council Tuesday. "What we did last summer was a lot of fun, but it just cost too much to put on and we lost too much money on it."
Councilman Ben Brewer ultimately opposed the rodeo's returned due to the longer schedule.
The rodeo sparked controversy among locals, particularly those living near the grounds on Airport Road, when it was first discussed earlier this year. But reports indicate event organizers were meticulous in mitigating community concerns, ranging from animal welfare and environmental impacts to noise and dust, and the event ran smoothly in its first year.
"I had a huge change of heart on the rodeo," said Breckenridge resident Elizabeth Lawrence, who lives near where the event took place. "They were amazing. I'm actually really happy with the event."
Officials are looking for ways to draw rodeo-goers into downtown Breckenridge to patronize restaurants and local businesses after the event. One observer noted seeing seven out of 10 cars heading toward Frisco, rather than back into Breckenridge after the event.
Organizers said the rodeo would be more successful if it started earlier in the summer season, due to the nature of the season for competitors, which starts in the spring.
Those who attended the rodeo said it was a family friendly event. Town staffers and local officials gave it top marks for cleanliness, meeting town requirements and the humane treatment of animals.
Nearly 1,000 people per night attended the rodeo during the summer, nearly doubling the organizers highest projections, but the event also cost three times more than expected, according to a town report.