Crook OKs $50K to redo grounds

Crooked River Roundup repairs include fixing, replacing chutes and pens

By Rachael Scarborough King / The Bulletin

Published: January 12. 2007 5:00AM PST

PRINEVILLE – The Crook County Court has tentatively approved a grant of almost $50,000 to the Crooked River Roundup to help defray the costs of remodeling at the fairgrounds in time for this year’s rodeo. The fairgrounds’ bucking chutes, alleyways and animal pens need to be renovated, said Hank Simmons, president of the Crooked River Roundup Board of Directors.

“Over time, the pens have, just with use and with the size of the animals, they wear and tear on the equipment over the years, and it just got to the point where rather than keep fixing them back up, it’s time to replace and make it a more permanent and better-functioning arena,” Simmons said.

After last year’s event, Simmons said, the rodeo’s stock contractor said some of his animals were injured, and he would not attend this year if the facilities were not improved.

The Crooked River Roundup has already solicited bids for the repairs. The bids showed that steel for chutes and pens will cost about $33,000 and the project will cost about $49,000 total.

County commissioners have agreed to provide money for those costs, subject to an agreement between the county and the roundup about the source of the funds, Crook County Judge Scott Cooper said.

The money will probably come from regional lottery funds and the county’s video lottery account, both of which are dedicated to economic development, as well as the county’s property account.

“The Crooked River Roundup is the signature event of Crook County, and obviously an occasional capital investment to keep it operational serves the economy and culture of the whole community,” Cooper said.

He added that this is the first time during his six-year tenure as a county commissioner that the county court has contributed money toward facilities upkeep for the roundup. Usually, Cooper said, this type of expense would be referred to the Crook County Fair Board, but it is currently financing a retrofitting of the fairgrounds’ grandstand to make it accessible to disabled people.

The Crooked River Roundup is a multiday event that occurs every summer in Crook County. It attracts thousands of spectators and features rodeo and races.

Simmons said roundup staff and volunteers will provide the labor for the repairs, which he expects to take several months. He said workers have already torn out some of the bucking chutes and are sandblasting and refurbishing them.

The Crooked River Roundup costs about $300,000 to put on every year, Simmons said, and the organizers usually make back that expense through admissions, sponsorships and concessions. The cost of remodeling the facilities would have taken too large a chunk out of the organization’s budget, which is why roundup representatives went to the county to ask for help.

“(The county) saw our need, and we certainly appreciate that,” Simmons said. “It’s for the community. As we try to compete for spectator dollars for all the Central Oregon events, you have to have a nice facility in a good condition so that people will want to come and see our rodeo and our race meet.”

The Crooked River Roundup’s rodeo is scheduled for June 22-24, and the race meet will take place July 11-14.

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