Bill Bobbitt, president of the Sawtooth Rangers Riding Club, thinks wildfires in the area this summer might help bring a large crowd to the Wagon Days rodeo Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 at the Hailey Rodeo Park.
“Well, I’m hoping with the fires there won’t be so many people camping and they’ll decide to stay home and come to the rodeo,” Bobbitt said.
Now in its second year, the Intermountain Pro Rodeo Association Finals Rodeo will pit IMPRA’s top 12 finalists of nine events after a season of rodeos to decide who are the best cowboys and cowgirls for the year. Events include bareback riding, saddle bronc, stock saddle, breakaway roping, team roping, steer wrestling, tie down roping, barrel racing and bull riding.
IMPRA, organized in 1970, is one of the top rodeo associations in the West and includes performers from Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Montana and Nevada.
“They’re all pretty much semi-professionals,” Bobbitt said. “Most of them have regular jobs to make a living and they do this to have fun.”
Rodeo action starts at 4 p.m. both days. Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for 10 and under. Tickets can be purchased at Atkinsons’ Markets in Ketchum and Hailey, through the Hailey Chamber of Commerce or at the door.
Bobbitt said he expects a nightly crowd of between 1,500 and 1,800 spectators, but not a sellout crowd.
“This is the second year we’ve had the IMPRA finals up here, so it’s going to take a while to build it up,” he said.
The rodeo is sponsored by the Sawtooth Rangers Riding Club, the group that organizes rodeos in Hailey, IMPRA and West Motor auto sales in Preston and Logan, Utah.
Bobbitt requested that rodeo attendees not try to sneak any food or beverages into the event.
“We don’t want any outside food or beverages brought in,” he said. “We have concessions and that’s how concessions make their money.”
Running concessions for the rodeo is Rotorun Ski Area, assisted by the Hailey Rotary Club.
“The money they get from this will go to a great cause for the kids that ski up there,” Bobbitt said.
Terry Smith: firstname.lastname@example.org