Rodeo Sales Down, Optimism Up
By Brittany Borghi
POCATELLO, Idaho -- The rodeo wrapped up in Pocatello Sunday as the last of the dirt was cleared out of Holt Arena. With the big event over, we just had to ask: How did the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour stack up against the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo?
It was a week of Extreme Bulls and bull escapes. The silver stop on the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour brought a lot of excitement to the Gate City, but it did not quite go the full eight seconds in ticket sales.
Angela Askey, VP of finance for the Pocatello Frontier Rodeo Association, said ticket sales were down this year. Typically the DNCFR would sell 20,000 to 22,000 tickets on average. This year's Wrangler Tour sold 15,000 tickets – 5,000 to 7,000 fewer tickets.
But that did not seem to stop sales at Oliver's restaurant. Waitress Jamie Davis has seen rodeo crowds come and go for six years, she said, this year was the best.
"We had bigger groups, larger groups, with a lot more out-of-towners," Davis said.
The Wrangler Tour brought in competitors from all over the country.
"And there were some groups, they just came in today on their way outof town. So they came in, had some Eggs Oliver and some coffee," she said.
Davis said sales are much higher now than they were this time last year, and Bill Vickers said the same thing. Despite the fact that total ticket sales were down, Vickers Western Stores sold more tickets this year.
"I brought in extra help on overtime just to sell tickets, because there was a line, almost every day, all day, just to buy tickets," Vickers said.
Vickers attributes the spike to his new real-time ticket sale program. The business owner said he expected to see fewer people at the rodeo, but doubled his sponsorship money anyway. He said he is certain more people will come out next year.
"It is definitely going to keep growing, because the people I talked to this week said it was the best rodeo they've ever been to. Better than the DNCFR," Vickers said.
Askey said it was a challenge to get people open to that idea, but the rodeo committee sees big things for the future.
"Like I said, it is our committee's goal to move this from a silver to a gold tour stop," Askey said.
The Wrangler Tour brought in $195,000 in ticket sales. All of that goes to fund the event, and the money is still being allocated, Askey said. All of the staff for the event are volunteers.