Although the 2020 Enumclaw Pro Rodeo is cancelled, the Pro Rodeo Association is promising next year to be bigger and better than ever. Here are a photo from last year, picturing Cole Snyder, who managed to score 74 points on the bareback event despite nearly getting smashed into a fence. Photos by Ray Miller-Still

Although the 2020 Enumclaw Pro Rodeo is cancelled, the Pro Rodeo Association is promising next year to be bigger and better than ever. Here are a photo from last year, picturing Cole Snyder, who managed to score 74 points on the bareback event despite nearly getting smashed into a fence. Photos by Ray Miller-Still

Enumclaw Rodeo cancelled

Not only was it a risky financial venture, but with other rodeos cancelled, there are no cowboys (or cowgirls) around to compete.

It’s official — the Enumclaw Pro Rodeo, reportedly the last holdout in the Pacific Northwest, is cancelled.

Chris Johnson, president of the Enumclaw Pro Rodeo Association, said the annual event was cancelled Aug. 1 by a 10-1 vote.

“The occurred after a lot of debate and a lot of discussion,” Johnson said. “To me, it’s like losing an old friend.”

One of the big reasons the rodeo was cancelled was money. According to Johnson, the rodeo costs around $85,000 to put on every year.

Roughly $40,000 of that cost is made up through community sponsorships, but the rest has to be made up by ticket sales, and with social distancing rules in place, the rodeo association estimated only being able to sell between 700 or 800 tickets this year, rather than the normal 2,000.

“It didn’t pencil out for us,” Johnson continued. “There’s a potential here, this year, for wiping out our reserves, what we’ve saved up over the last eight years. That’s a hell of a risk.”

Johnson also pointed out the rodeo association only sees between $10,000 to $12,000 in profit every year, and that all the board members and staff that work “hundreds” of hours putting the event on are all volunteers.

There was also a liability factor — Gov. Jay Inslee enacted new rules against holding any live entertainment, indoors or out, on July 20.

“The rodeo is outdoor entertainment,” Johnson said. “We were all in up until the point the government stipulated no outdoor entertainment… that carried a lot of weight with our decision.”

But even if the rodeo could survive a financial hit and withstand the liability factor, there would likely not be enough competitors to fill three days of events.

“Normally, this time of year, the cowboys are all in the Pacific Northwest, because you’ve got a couple of [other rodeos] — Kennewick, Ellensburg, Puyallup, Enumclaw, Bremerton, they’re all up here,” Johnson said. “All of those rodeos have been cancelled. These cowboys are at home running their ranches. They’re not in the area.”

The cancelled event is a tremendous blow to the Enumclaw Expo Center’s bottom line.

“This adds to my net loss of over $500,000 from March to September,” director Rene Popke said in an email. “It’s a great impact on our venue as well as our community.”

If the pandemic ends by next August, Johnson promises the 2021 rodeo will be “one hell of a party.”


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@courierherald.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.courierherald.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in News

In addition to traveling through Enumclaw and Buckley, Santa will also be at the Enumclaw Expo Center's Hometown Holiday Parade Dec. 4 - 6, in place of being a part of the normal Enumclaw holiday parade. File photo
Santa to visit Buckley, Enumclaw neighborhoods

Make sure you know when Old Saint Nick is traveling through your area Dec. 7 - 12.

Feel free to use this image, just link to www.SeniorLiving.Org
Buckley budget includes money for streets, recreation projects

Residents can look forward to work being done on River Avenue and a new athletic court.

Enumclaw's decision making tree
ESD students will not return until January

Many teachers and parents saw flaws in the plan for students to return to school after Thanksgiving, just to have them go on winter holiday a few weeks later.

Sage Viniconis is a career performing artist in King County who’s been out of work and seeking creative outlets during the COVID-19 pandemic. Courtesy photo/Sage Viniconis
Puget Sound artists adapt creativity, and business sense, to pandemic

Artists Sunday is an online directory that connects artists across the county, state and nation.

The Courier-Herald is moving to a paid-subscription model. Photo by Ray Miller-Still
Dec. 2 is the last free edition of the Courier-Herald

When you subscribe to a newspaper, you’re not just receiving a product, but investing in an idea.

One of the highlights of Holiday Fantasy has been outright donations to a worthy cause. Here, attendees show their support during the 2018 event. This year, the event will be holding a virtual auction over four days. Photo by Kevin Hanson
Holiday Fantasy goes virtual, offers four days of silent auction

The annual Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation fundraiser helps fund nearly a third of the non-profits various programs, from feeding seniors to arranging transport to medical appointments.

File photo
Snow Lake, located near Snoqualmie Pass in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
Washington releases new forest plan

It outlines ways the state will protect and maintain forest health.

Still from the movie
New horror movie filmed in Enumclaw

“They Reach” was written and directed by a former local, who wanted to show off Enumclaw in his first-ever feature-length film.

City of Buckley's Merry and Bright competition
Buckley hosts first-ever holiday decoration competition

The deadline to register your home is Dec. 4.

Most Read