LOGAN, Utah — The Cache County rodeo and fair is moving forward this year, in spite of the large spike in COVID-19 cases that occurred at a meat packing plant in the valley last month.
As of Thursday, the rodeo is the second largest in the country in terms of how much money is on the table for contestants to win.
Rodeo Manager LaMont Poulsen said they have had 100 female barrel racers sign up and 80 bull riders register, making their slack or the ones who don’t make it into the competition, four times the size as what they would have on a normal year.
“Last year we paid out $180,000, this year will be a lot more then that,” said Poulsen.
Folks have been watching the Cache County rodeo for more than 141 years—a tradition that won’t be broken by a tiny virus as long as Poulsen and the fair manager, Lane Parker, will be there.
“I’ve been in this arena with mud up to my knees and we didn’t stop,” said Poulsen. "The only thing is lightning, that will stop us.”
A fourth day was added to the rodeo lineup to include Extreme Bronco Riding. The other days are packed with some of the best contestants in the nation.
So far, 12 out of the top 15 Bareback riders qualified to go the National Finals Rodeo have entered.
13 out of the top 15 in Saddle Bronc riding and 11 out of the top 15 Bull riders will all be competing.
“This year with all the cancelations of rodeos, the guys are hungry and so are the girls, so we are totally filled up in every area,” said Poulsen.
Though there will be no carnival this year, Parker said the fair is still moving forward.
Last year, Parker said the fair generated $530,000 at the fat stock auction for the youth.
“That’s mission money and school money,” said Parker.
There are 240 spaces for fair vendors in the park next to the rodeo arena. Some vendors have backed out and so have the high school athletic teams who have usually helped out with parking and cleaning.
“I can’t give you all the answers right now, but we’re going to make it happen,” said Parker.
Joshua Greer, a spokesman with the Bear River Health Department said they have some reservations about the event, even though the cases in Cache County are decreasing.
“If things went bad, we certainly would make recommendations to the county officials who made the decision,” said Greer. “We certainly would encourage them to do what’s right for the community.”
With the blessing of county officials, first responders and with a sports medical team from Intermountain Health Care scheduled to be on hand, Poulsen intends to fill the arena—which can hold anywhere from five to seven thousand people.
“What I would hope is that those that come, feel comfortable and safe,” said Poulsen. “That they wouldn’t look down on someone that has a mask or vice versa.”
The Cache County Rodeo and Fair is scheduled for August 5th through the 8th.