It’s been awhile since Nevada had a rodeo, but thanks to the efforts of some local businessmen and others, the Nevada Community Rodeo will be a reality this summer during the annual Lincoln Highway Days celebration, Aug. 24-26.
Listening in during their third planning meeting last week, it was obvious that the group — led by Eric Viers, president; Marc Olson, vice president; and Al Kockler, secretary/treasurer — is going all out to make sure the rodeo’s return is a first-class revival.
One thing they’ve decided is that this initial rodeo will be one night only; that will help the committee get its feet on the ground. The rodeo is set for Saturday, Aug. 25, and will start around 6:30 that evening. Kockler said it will last a little over two hours and will be held at the horse arena of the Story County Fairgrounds.
Nevada Chamber Director Lynn Scarlett has been sitting in on the rodeo meetings, offering any assistance she can to help the group. “I have been very impressed with the work Marc, Al and Eric have done,” Scarlett said. “The meetings are very organized and stay on task. Having Eric, with all his (rodeo) experience, at the table has been a wonderful asset to the group.”
Attendance at the meetings has grown each time, and the group is still open to more people getting involved in meetings and/or volunteering to help with the event itself.
Does it take work to put on a rodeo? “More than you can imagine,” Kockler said. On his end, he’s been busy setting up the Nevada Community Rodeo as a tax-exempt organization, “so we can take contributions and those will be tax-deductible.” Their tax-exempt status was approved a month-and-a-half ago.
Olson started last week’s meeting with a rundown of business sponsors for the event. He was excited to announce that all the bucking-chute sponsorships had been sold now; there are still other sponsorships, however, being worked on. “We’re half done on sponsorships,” he said.
Other discussions of the night were about how to do ticket sales, parking during the event, fencing around the event, whether or not there would be beer sold on the grounds, what organizations can be called on to help clean up afterward and how to improve their marketing efforts through social media. One decision they tied down at the meeting was that the Story County Cattlemen will serve the food at the event.
Having the rodeo back for Saturday night of Lincoln Highway Days is something that many residents have wanted to see and that the Chamber’s LHD committee is happy about. “The LHD committee is very excited about the addition of the Nevada Community Rodeo to the events that weekend,” Scarlett said. “This is a wonderful tradition, and we are glad to see it return. We urge the community to support the rodeo by volunteering to help, becoming an event sponsor and/or by attending the event. We hope the rodeo is successful, and it becomes an annual community event again.”
As for the rest of the Lincoln Highway Days celebration, Scarlett said the LHD committee has been meeting since February to plan. “Sponsorship requests have been sent out, along with food and craft vendors’ applications. We have been in touch with last year’s organizations that held an event during Lincoln Highway Days, and we are always looking for new events that will make LHD even better.” Scarlett urges any group that wants to be part of this year’s celebration to call the Chamber, 515-382-6538.
As for the rodeo, the group has a Facebook page (Nevada Community Rodeo) to help keep people abreast of all the planning that is happening. On that page, residents can find information, too, about pre-ordering Nevada Community Rodeo T-shirts. The committee is considering a special at-the-gate discount for those who buy and wear this year’s official rodeo shirt to the rodeo that evening.
The rodeo and the arena is approved for the seating of 915 spectators, and the rodeo committee would love to see the place packed to capacity that evening.
Viers, who has worked in professional rodeo and has worked with the Maxwell Rodeo for many years, when asked how he feels about making the Nevada rodeo happen, expresses nothing but confidence. “This is not my first rodeo.”