BRECKENRIDGE - After a successful pilot season last summer, owners of Breckenridge's ProRodeo are looking to bring the event back in 2013 for a longer run with more events.
With approval to extend the rodeo from five weekends to 11 this year, Breckenridge Stables owner and rodeo sponsor Brad Bays is now asking the town to consider allowing Saturday morning children's events and a few Friday night performances to the program.
"The kid's rodeo came about due to the high demand of kids' events last year," Bays stated in a written request to the town council. "During the ProRodeo, there is just not enough time to accommodate everything."
Bays is also looking to add a championship bull riding event on July 19 and the Million Dollar Bucking Bull Championship on the Friday of Labor Day weekend.
The extended agenda would require livestock to be brought in on Friday nights, rather than Saturday mornings like last year.
The fledgling rodeo runs only on weekends, with the majority of the participants and infrastructure packing up and moving out by Monday morning.
Though the council isn't slated to discuss the event expansion until tonight's work session, some town leaders initially showed hesitation at further growing an event that was somewhat unwelcome among neighbors.
"It's the slippery slope I was afraid of, basically," Councilman Ben Brewer said. "I agree that, on the one hand, I'd like to see the guy be successful. But if we have to become a rodeo town for that to happen, I'm not in favor of that. What this feels like to me is a rodeo all day, every weekend."
The rodeo sparked a heated debate when sponsors initially pitched the ideal last spring. Opponents expressed concerns about everything from animal cruelty to noise in the area on summer evenings to impacts on the town's historic character. But proponents, particularly from the downtown business sector, favored the addition to the town's event calendar saying it would help fill rooms during the sometimes slow summer season.
But over the course of the five weeks of its first trial season, 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 town.
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.
Bays has said he needs to expand the event to make it financially viable.
The rodeo is set to kick off June 22 and run through Sept. 1.