BILLINGS — With the coronavirus pandemic, it won’t be a normal Cowboy Christmas for cowboys and cowgirls this year.
Two prominent PRCA rodeos in the area that would have happened this week have been canceled as a result of COVID-19 concerns. The Home of Champions Rodeo in Red Lodge and the annual Livingston Roundup Rodeo were both scheduled for July 2-4 before being canceled.
With so many cancellations of events due to the novel coronavirus, organizers of Rodeo Roundup hope to give those wanting to watch rodeo an outlet to do so.
The two-day PRCA rodeo will be held July 3-4 at the Musselshell County Fairgrounds.
Rodeo Roundup committee member Stuart Sanner said it was important to those involved to be able to host the event.
“It’s actually pretty big, this is the biggest weekend in Roundup. If you lose the third and the Fourth of July, it puts a kink in businesses around town,” said Sanner, a Roundup native. “This year it is a big one for the cowboys and cowgirls to give them a place to go. We are looking forward to having them. I hope we get people who have never been here and they like it and come back.”
The Cody Stampede PRCA rodeo is also being held July 1-4. Other area PRCA rodeos over the Independence Day holiday include Belle Fourche (South Dakota), Mandan (North Dakota), Mobridge (South Dakota), Killdeer (North Dakota) and Bigfork. The Bigfork rodeo is July 4-6.
There are NRA rodeos set for Harlowton July 2-4 and Ennis July 3-4.
The stock contractors for Rodeo Roundup are Powder River Rodeo Company and Hofer Bucking Bulls. The July 3 performance is set for 7 p.m. and the July 4 performance will be at 1 p.m.
Sanner said he’s heard positive feedback about Rodeo Roundup.
“I haven’t been able to talk to many cowboys, but the stock contractors and personnel are real happy this is going on,” he said. “It’s just one more place they can get to.”
Sanner said fans should expect a 2 to 2 ½-hour performance each day. And while it was raining Monday, sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 80s are forecast for Friday and Saturday.
“It will definitely be worth coming down and watching, there is no doubt about it,” he said. “We think the weather will cooperate and the fairgrounds in Roundup are beautiful. We are down here on the (Musselshell) river, a nice spot to be.”
Tickets will be available at the gate. Admission prices are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, $10 for those ages 7 to 15, and children 6 and under are free with a paid adult.
To comply with the social distancing requirements of the local health district and county commissioners, hand sanitizer will be available, and fans will be asked to practice social distancing in the stands and concession areas.
Normally the Roundup Independence Days Extravaganza would be occurring during the same days as the rodeo, but this year’s event was canceled because of safety concerns due to COVID-19. This year, country music singer Joe Nichols was to perform.
“That was too bad. A lot of people enjoyed it and you could go and enjoy the rodeo and concert,” Sanner said.
Sanner said it is the second year the rodeo has been sanctioned by the PRCA.
“We were just an open rodeo and we did it on the Fourth,” he said. “We had such good luck and people asked us to go to two days and said we should be pro. We just said, ‘OK, let’s go for it.’ ”
In addition, an “impromptu car parade” will be held on Main Street in Roundup at 11 a.m. on July Fourth. Normally, a regular parade would have been held on July 3-4. The car parade is not under the jurisdiction of the rodeo committee, but Sanner said from what he understands people are looking forward to it.
“Everybody I’ve talked to, they just want to go do something. When they canceled the parade, they said ‘Why don’t we put a cruise out?’ ” Sanner said. “I think they will get pretty good attendance.”