Junior rodeo’s economic impact strong in Clovis

By William Thompson: Freedom Newspapers

Success at the High Plains Junior Rodeo Association finals was not limited to the performers. Clovis was a winner as well, City Manager Raymond Mondragon said on Sunday.

“Parents and relatives of the participants spent their money here,” he said. “They shopped and ate at restaurants. I would call the rodeo a huge success.”

Kendall Terry, a board member of the rodeo association, agreed.

“It benefits everybody,” Terry said. “Many of the rodeo participants stayed in local motels and ate in local restaurants. I know a lot of rodeo people went to Joe’s Boot Shop on Mabry Drive.”

Terry said local sponsors contributed around $70,000 in prizes for the rodeo.

Businesses contributed saddles and beltbuckles as prizes, Terry said.

Despite nearly 175 participants and around 500 spectators at the rodeo events, Terry wondered why more local residents did not fill the stands. Mondragon said junior rodeo events are attended more by relatives of participants than by general spectators.

“The adult rodeo events are attended well by Clovis residents,” he said, “but for the junior events it’s mostly parents and grandparents of the participants, aunts and uncles attending.”

Clovis’ Holiday Inn was the official host hotel for the rodeo. David Wright, a manager for the hotel, said business was up significantly throughout the week.

“We were pretty busy, mostly rodeo people coming in,” Wright said. “We have about 50 percent higher occupancy whenever the junior rodeo finals come to town.”

June Castillo, a server at Dave’s Coffee Shop near the Curry County Fairgrounds, said business was good, especially over the weekend.

“We always get busier when rodeos and fairs come to the fairgrounds,” Castillo said.

But not all businesses felt an impact from the rodeo.
Mike Awais, owner of the Howard Johnson Express Inn, said his motel did not see a great increase in the number of guests.

“The rodeo did not make a significant difference in our business,” Awais said. “I think that is because we are a little farther away from the rodeo site. The businesses closer to the fairgrounds, like the Holiday Inn, did much better.”

Terry said Clovis will host the finals of the High Plains Junior Rodeo Association again next year.

“It was a three-year bid,” said Terry. We had it last year, this year and next year. Then the finals will be up for bid again.”
Mondragon said Clovis wants the rodeo to keep coming back.

“The chamber of commerce actually submits the bid, and I have no doubt that they will submit a bid again,” said Mondragon. “The city of Clovis, in partnership with the chamber of commerce, will continue to push for the rodeo to be held here as long as the rodeo association wants to keep coming here.”

Ernie Kos, Director of the Curry County/Clovis Chamber of Commerce, said the rodeo is a major event for Clovis.

“The rodeo has the largest economic impact on Clovis, more than any other event because it’s a week-long event,” she said. “ People come and stay for 6-7 days. I saw lots of rodeo families at the mall and downtown.”