The California High School Rodeo Association will be holding its finals at the Eastern Sierra Tri-County Fairgrounds in Bishop for the next four years with a possible two-year extension on top of that. The rodeo attracts more than 700 parents and participants that stay and spend in Bishop.
The CHSRA contracts for holding the finals has always been competitive, said Jim Tatum, fairgrounds general manager, but he said Bishop made the CHRSA an offer it couldn’t refuse. He added that he has only had phone confirmation and details are still being hammered out.
Tatum said he had talked with CHSRA organizers last year about a long-term contract, something longer and more stable than the usual two-year contracts. Tatum explained it was the community that made the CHSRA want to stay.
“Once again the citizens of Bishop have stepped up,” Tatum said. He said he is waiting to reveal the names of all those involved, but he said that some locals have made generous sponsorship donations to help with the costs for participants. And, he said, another local was able to work a deal with the steer contractors that rent out cutting cattle for the event.
The cutting cattle is a significant expense for the CHSRA, Tatum said. And, Bishop’s major competition for the finals contract, Red Bluff has access to cutting cattle, as most cutting cattle in the state live there, Tatum explained, and there is little to no travel costs.
But, Tatum explained that the CHSRA said that “the benefits far outweigh the extra costs.”
“They really want to be here,” Tatum said. The CHSRA has said that it enjoys the comforts and safety of small-town Bishop. Tatum explained that the fairgrounds is a perfect centralized location in town, within walking distance to shops and restaurants, and so is the town.
Tatum said Bishop’s location is relatively equidistant for all participants, and “there’s so much to see and do here.”
Tatum said what he hopes he is seeing is a new batch of tourists. He explained that families stay in town for a full week and get a taste of Bishop and all it has to offer and will hopefully make plans to come back.
He said he didn’t have facts and figures in front of him, but he said its probably safe to say that the rodeo is a significant financial boost for the city and county. The event is also good timing, filling the otherwise empty fairgrounds between Mule Days and the Fourth of July.