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That Rodeo Life

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High Desert Stampede Comes Home to the PRCA

The High Desert Stampede rolled into the town of Redmond, Oregon on March 31st for its "debut" rodeo. Though the rodeo started up in September of 2015, it returned to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in 2017 after being the inaugural tour stop of the Elite Rodeo Association last year. That Western Life was able to speak with Greg Ego, the Secretary and Treasurer of the board, to give some insight into what a budding rodeo has to do to be successful.

How do you feel the rodeo went overall?

"We think it went great. We found out in the middle of December we weren't going to have another ERA rodeo because they decided to suspend their tour for 2017. So we basically started over again this year on the 19th of December; putting on a PRCA Rodeo in 90 days - which is almost impossible. BUT, we did it! We were really happy with the crowd and the contractors; I think it went great. We have a great facility, the fairgrounds was awesome to work with, and the sponsors were awesome to work with." 

What was the biggest difference from last year to this year?

"With the PRCA, we called a lot of the shots; with the ERA they called ALL the shots."
While this has its pros and cons, overall the committee was very pleased and "had a good experience with the PRCA, and we would probably look to do that again."

What specific challenges did you have to overcome being a new rodeo and being the opening rodeo to the Columbia River, and being in your third year of rodeo production?

"Our biggest challenge was the short timeline. There was no room for error, we just had to stay on top of it until the last minute." 
Sponsors are always the hardest aspect to gather together, especially starting so last minute.  " December, [businesses] have already decided their budgets for 2017, so we're asking people to sponsor when there isn't really an opportunity." 
However, everything gets a little easier once the show starts since the stock contractors and personnel handle everything. "Our job is to take care of the people," Ego added.

What are some of the highlight features that you do to make your rodeo different from other rodeos in the area like Sisters or the Crooked River Roundup?

"You don't really have a lot of opportunity to be different.  We don't do a grand entry but we do recognize the queens." While the local queens were given free entry and announced during the performance, Ego added that the decision to not have rodeo royalty, besides 2017 Miss Rodeo Oregon Kayla Vincent, ride in the grand entry was one of the toughest. Unfortunately, "we didn't have time in the window to get it done correctly," Ego said. 

Where do you want to see growth in your rodeo production for future rodeos?

"[In the future] we grow sponsors, we grow prize money, and we connect other things in the weekend, but our focus now is to put on the best rodeo we can." 

The High Desert Stampede has grown by leaps and bounds through the past three years in two different associations (2015 PRCA, 2016 ERA, 2017 PRCA), which means that credit must be given to the dozens of volunteers and sponsors. One of the most resounding struggles for the High Desert Stampede seems to be draw outs and no-shows--something that every committee struggles with from time to time. With something so normal being their biggest struggle, they're well on their way to being a must-see rodeo in the Northwest.

By building their community involvement and growing relationships with business to bring rodeo to the area, this may be one of the greatest times of the year to plan a trip to Mount Bachelor to go skiing and hit the rodeo on a Friday night,  which is scheduled to be the second weekend of spring break every year. 

You can get to know the board and volunteers through useful information and what each director brings to the table on their Facebook page


This article was written by Sara Marcus, a rodeo and western lifestyle enthusiast. Read more about Sara in our Authors section.


Stock Contractor: Growney Brothers Rodeo | Sub-Contractor: Bridwell Pro Rodeos | Rodeo Secretary: Haley Bridwell | Officials: Harry Rose Jr., Bobby Davis and Monty Van Komen | Timers: Molly Twitchell and Diana Alexander | Announcer: Steve Kenyon | Specialty Act: JJ Harrison | Bullfighters: Eric Layton and Tim O'Connor | Clown/Barrelman: JJ Harrison | Flankman: Tim Bridwell | Chute Boss: John Wright | Pickup Men: Mitch Coleman and Matt Twitchell | Photographers: W.T. Bruce and Bob Click | Music Director: Jason Buchanan