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County hopes to lasso state school rodeo

Sun Advocate publisher

In a special meeting on Thursday afternoon, the Carbon County Commission told the group that has been working to bring the state high school rodeo championships to Carbon County that they can submit the bid document they have drafted to the Utah High School Rodeo Association.

But commissioners also cautioned that the committee members need to sharpen their pencils when it comes to costs associated with bringing that event to the county each year for the next five years.

"The first thing we need to know about is costs," said Commissioner John Jones. "I look at this bid and there are a lot of costs here that we are not certain about. Let's get those figured out."

The decision came at the end of an hour and a half meeting that was held in the event center at the fairgrounds. There were a lot of questions asked by commissioners about the multiple page bid that the group intends to submit, with the main one being how the money to put it on will be generated.

"We have been working on a plan and we know we can find the money to cover a lot of this," said Jana Abrams. "We already have some people who have committed some funds. For instance last night Price City agreed to put $1,800 toward a sponsorship for the rodeo association."

Commissioners said they were impressed with the work the committee has done in such a short period of time. While the bid was on the website of the high school association since February, Carbon area officials just learned about it a couple of weeks ago and began to put things together to bid on it.

The high school (and junior high) championships have been held in Heber City for about the last 50 years without being moved. They did take bids about 12 years ago, but those involved then say today there was little chance of it moving from that venue then. However things have now changed and the association seems serious about looking at other venues.

"I wrote that bid document 12 years ago to try to get it here," said Steve Christensen, now the director of county recreation. "I look at what we have done on this, and our new facilities here, I don't see how they can ignore this bid."

No one knows how many other venues are competing for the chance to host the championships starting next year, but those in the know say that they know of at least one other county that is trying for it besides Wasatch.

The rodeo is considered a big deal because almost 700 participants come to it and stay numerous days in the area. They also bring the families and friends. Reportedly the Heber area realizes about $1.5 million in gross spending from the event each year.

"We support this but there has to be a revenue stream to support it to begin with," said Commissioner Mike Milovich. "We just can't write out a check for $150k to get this going."

Commissioner Jae Potter also had concerns about cost but also wanted to be sure the county was represented well in any presentation that might be done.

"Let's have a top notch presentation on this when we have the chance to do one," he told the group.

The bid must be in on May 31 and it appears decisions about who the finalists will be announced sometime in August.

It Carbon comes out the winner the championships will be held here for up to five years starting in June 2012.

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