Gov. Gordon on cancellation of 6 Wyoming rodeos
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Gov. Mark Gordon issued the following statement following the announcement that six of Wyoming’s large rodeos and events will not take place in 2020:
“I would like to clarify some misconceptions surrounding yesterday’s announcement that six of Wyoming’s signature rodeo events will not be taking place this summer. As governor, I support the choice made by these committees and stand with them in the enormously difficult decision that they had to make. Their courage is uncommon, and that in and of itself, is Wyoming.
Large rodeos are expensive undertakings that rely on attendance, sponsors, local support, and most of all, volunteers. As COVID-19 progressed early this year and many large rodeos closed, sponsorships dried up nationally; live music performances came to a halt; fans wavered, consumer sentiment dipped and volunteers were forced to weigh whether or not they would be able to help.
Rodeo committees take seriously their responsibility to provide an entertaining, unique, and safe experience to all of their guests and they look to the state and county health officers for advice. The group that I was honored to work with came with tough questions and a long list of unknowns that we all attempted to address. We discussed and considered at length how to manage the main gate, whether they needed to require masks and what attendance might be like. Would a beer garden be feasible? How do you manage crowds when the rodeo is over? How do you run a carnival in the current environment? In the end, the challenges and risks involved with implementing any approach were either too expensive, too complicated or simply not feasible.
As I stated at yesterday’s press conference, the state did not close these rodeos. I want to be very clear — rodeo as a whole is not “cancelled” in Wyoming. There are no public health orders issued by the state that would “shut down” rodeos or prevent them from taking place. In fact, we are continuing to work diligently to ensure that our Wyoming State Fair, county fairs, local rodeos and other smaller events can take place this summer. This decision was difficult for all of us, and I know how important these events are to our communities, our businesses and our citizens. We stand ready to work with any rodeo committee to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. I look forward to a full rodeo season in 2021.”