Western Montana's longest-running professional rodeo is another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We've canceled the Drummond Rodeo," Butch Friede, chairman of the rodeo committee, told the Missoulian Friday night. "We don't have enough sponsors and ads, and the other problem we have is there are 27 pages of guidelines from the PRCA to make it work. We couldn't get it done."
The one-day Drummond Kiwanis Rodeo, traditionally held on the Sunday after the Fourth of July, was preparing for its 79th annual show on July 5.
"So we're going to make it bigger and better next year. That's what we're thinking now," Friede said.
The event is the Kiwanis Club's biggest moneymaker and typically draws more than 1,000 spectators, including summer tourists from other countries.
Drummond joins a string of early season Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association events on the Montana circuit that have canceled in the face of social gathering restrictions. The list includes June shows in Glendive, Belt, Augusta and Hardin, as well as the Livingston Roundup scheduled for July 2-4.
The Red Lodge Home of Champions Rodeo (July 2-4) has said it'll wait until early June to make a decision. Organizers of the Wolf Point Wild Horse Stampede (July 9-11) will make a decision by June 1.
The Drummond Rodeo committee had given itself until May 15 to make a final decision whether to pull the plug. It waited until last Monday, May 18, to do so.
"We talked to Livingston, we talked to most of the other committees. We just couldn't figure how to get it done," he said.
Stipulations for holding a PRCA-sanctioned event include social distancing in the parking lot and grandstands, spraying and disinfecting all surfaces, and screening contestants by taking temperatures and determining where they'd been.
This weekend the Cowboy Channel is telecasting the first pro rodeo since the COVID-19 hiatus began in March. The three-day Cave Creek Rodeo Days in Arizona is closed to spectators.
Polson's Mission Mountain Rodeo (June 28-29) is among four rodeos to cancel for 2020 from Montana's other main circuit, the Northern Rodeo Association. Conrad, Culbertson and East Helena are the others.
The status of year-end finals for both the Montana Pro Rodeo and NRA circuits remains up in the air.
The spring college rodeo season was dashed by the pandemic and the College National Finals Rodeo scheduled for June 14-20 in Casper, Wyoming, was canceled in April.
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