Jumping over hurdles so that the rodeo can go on

Plans are being put in place for the 2020 Sidney Championship Rodeo. Pictured is the 2019 event.

Fans continue to wonder what the 97th annual Sidney Championship Rodeo will look like this year amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Well, that’s probably a good question,” said David Magel, Rodeo Board president. “It changes every few days. We’re just going to follow the guidelines from the state thus far and the county.”

Magel said they would keep spectators in the stands to a 50% capacity, enforce social distancing and have signage visible. He said at this time, spectators will not be required to wear masks. Magel said hand sanitizer will be available and they are considering sanitizing the grandstands daily.

“We’re going to try and do everything we can to make people feel comfortable being there,” said Magel.

It takes the effort of the spectators as well as everybody else to follow the guidelines, he said.

Magel said the PRCA has its own set of guidelines that will have to be followed as well. He said some of those guidelines include contestants being required to wear masks and sanitizing of the bucking shoots and timed event shoots.

At this time, Magel still anticipates vendors being part of the rodeo this year but is unsure of what their guidelines will look like.

Magel said he didn’t have a lot of concerns about having the rodeo with COVID-19 still circulating, but encourages everyone to maintain social distancing and good hygiene practices.

“I’m sure we’ll have some hurdles that we’ve never had before,” said Magel. “ It’s one of those things if you take a year off, it’s pretty hard to recover. It was a tough decision to go forward or just not have it. It’s easy not to have it. I guess we’ll work through the hurdles to have it.”

Magel said the Sidney Championship Rodeo had only been canceled three times during the 97 years and that was during World War II. He said they didn’t use the word canceled, however, but instead said postponed.

Positive feedback on the decision to go forward with the rodeo is being received, Magel said.

“The pre-ticket sales have been really good,” said Magel. “So that’s kinda a sign that people want to get out and get things somewhat back to normal, I guess.”

Magel is expecting to have a record number of contestants this year.

“I think we’ll have a really good rodeo as long as we can get enough people in here to make a profit,” said Magel. “It's kinda an unknown this year and I hope they relax some of the restrictions.”

Something new this year is the grandstand seating will be general admission every night. The board decided not to have reserved seating in the grandstands to help with social distancing measures. The reserved box seating and Ada box seating will still be available, with guidelines being followed.

The rodeo performance will be at 8 p.m. and run July 28 through August 1. There will not be any bands after the Friday and Saturday performances as in years past. Magel said this decision was made before the outbreak of COVID-19.

To purchase pre-sale tickets, call the box office at 712-374-2695, 10 am to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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