Business feature: Rodeo finals bring influx of customers

Clovis is expected to see an influx of cowboys and cowgirls this week as the city is to host the New Mexico High School Rodeo Finals for the fourth time at the Curry County Event Center.

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks

Levi Molesworth of Logan holds on for a score of 63 during his bareback ride during last year's New Mexico High School Rodeo Finals at the Curry County Event Center. The rodeo returns for a fourth year starting Thursday.

More than one hundred cowboys and cowgirls from high schools across New Mexico will compete for the overall end of year championships in bull riding, steer wrestling, team roping, calf roping, barrel racing and more.

Curry County Chamber of Commerce Director Ernie Kos said nearly 500 people have registered to come for the event, including participants and their families.

The rodeo finals are known to draw crowds from all corners of New Mexico and in the past three years have proven to be beneficial for the local economy, according to chamber officials.

"It's more family-oriented, it brings people in from all over the state," said Karen McDaniel, chair of the chamber's rodeo committee.

McDaniel says the economic impact of the rodeo is positive because tourists bring in traffic to local businesses.

"They're staying at our hotels, they're eating at our restaurants, they're purchasing gas and groceries, "McDaniel listed as examples of the ways rodeo tourists boost the local economy.

Local hotels say they expect to see a lot of rodeo guests this week as they have in previous years.

"We're sold out this week and we were sold out last year too," said Richard Benavidez, assistant manager of the La Quinta Inn on North Prince about room availability. "The rodeo plays a great part in that."

Mistie Greathouse, the assistant manager at the Hampton Inn on Mabry Drive, estimated that 40 out of their 55 rooms were occupied by rodeo participants last year based on what hotel guests told them.

Greathouse added that she expects the same crowd this year. Their rooms start at $89 plus tax a night.

Local restaurants are also looking forward to providing service to the rodeo crowd.

Cotton Patch Cafe Manager Nicki Gordon said they see a nice increase of business from the rodeo.

She added that she can definitely tell who is in town for the rodeo, citing chicken fried steak as a popular dish among those customers.

Eloisa Garcia, general manager of Leal's restaurant, said they become extremely busy with the bigger parties that the rodeo brings in.

She said last year among the sea of cowboy and cowgirl hats they saw, favorite dishes included chicken enchiladas and fajitas for their rodeo customers.

Rib Crib General Manager Shane Bock said they typically cater for the New Mexico High School Rodeo Association. He says they expect to make $500 to $1,500 dollars from rodeo attendees.

Owner of the local McDonald's restaurants, John Snowberger, said all three of his restaurants in Clovis do especially well during the rodeo.

"It's a very solid weekend for us," Snowberger said. "Our stores stay staffed, clean and friendly and we're always ready."

Snowberger said his staff looks at the calendars for major events and schedules accordingly.

"We stay ready for these events," Snowberger added.

Fast facts

What: New Mexico High School Rodeo Finals

When: Wednesday through Sunday

Where: Curry County Events Center

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