Pocatello experiencing rodeo withdrawal

Pocatello going through Rodeo withdrawal

POCATELLO, Idaho - Pocatello will be lacking some major outside dollars this year. This loss of money will affect jobs, businesses, and even the surrounding cities.

"We won't be hiring new staff this year," said Stan Hales,  General Manager of Perkins in Pocatello.  

Hales usually hires in the spring, but money is tight. However, cash flow isn't the only reason he says the rodeo will be missed.

"It's a real disappointment not only from an economic point of view, that the rodeo's not here," Hales said, "but it was a good social and community event."

The Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo left Pocatello for Oklahoma City before 2011. For the past two years, it's been the Western Frontier Pro Rodeo.

Now, for the first time since the early 1940's, Pocatello will be going through a rodeo withdrawal.

"So now with no rodeo, some of the hotels will feel a larger impact, ones that were getting rooms," said Matt Hunter, President of the Greater Pocatello Chamber of Commerce, "but some of them have already seen that impact go away over the last two years."

Hales hopes that this year is the only year without a rodeo, and that businesses in Pocatello will contribute more to ensure that this boon to the Pocatello economy will come back, and he is not alone.

"I think the rodeo is a great thing for Pocatello, and I think it's the type of event we need to have here," Hunter said, "and I think we'll get one again, so it is something to look forward to if you're a business person. It just may take a couple years to get there."

If and when it does, Hales thinks the southeast Idaho community will want to make sure they are supporting their local economy by supporting is event. He says even non-rodeo goers will feel an impact.

"Indirectly it affects them somehow," Hales said.

A commonly-stated reason for the rodeo closing up shop was due to lack of attendance. Now, there is no option to attend a rodeo.

"I think the rodeo is kind of a lesson to be learned, I think our community kind of took it for granted."

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