STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — The Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series won't trim its 10-week, 20-performance schedule despite a cut in city funding for 2009, but it will offer a discounted season pass to encourage attendance.
Board members are hoping for a strong season that will help it restore funding to historic levels.
The city, which is the main source of revenue for the rodeo series, cut its contribution to $30,000 this year, down from $45,000 in each of the previous two years.
"We're hoping we don't have our pockets pulled out at the end of the year," said rodeo board President John Shipley. "At some point, you just can't do it without the money, and we'd have to cut back."
Shipley estimates that sponsorship dollars have fallen 20 to 25 percent, and attendance has slipped slightly in recent years.
"Sponsorships are harder to get because of the economy," rodeo board member Paul Strong said. "We have some concerns for this year."
Still, the board decided to proceed optimistically this year, partially because of the healthy state of the rodeo's financial reserves, board member Ward Van Scoyk said.
The rodeo is offering a $35 season pass good for entry to 18 of the 20 rodeos this season to boost attendance. The pass price increases to $50 once the series begins. Otherwise, individual adult rodeo tickets are $15 apiece.
Rodeos are part of the town's heritage.
"Ranching has been a way of life here for well over 100 years, and rodeos have always been a part of that," Strong said. "I think it's a huge part of our culture and heritage and something we need to do everything we can to protect and celebrate."