Original Story Gunnison Country Times, August 27, 2020
Cattlemen’s Days granted another county variance Times Staff Report There will be fans in the stands at next week’s improvised Cattlemen’s Days Rodeo. But there won’t be many — a fraction of what Gunnison’s signature event typically accommodates. And tickets are not openly available to the public. Instead, they’re being reserved for event sponsors and individuals who donated to the recent fundraising campaign that made hosting the rodeo possible. Last Friday Gunnison County Public Health officials granted a variance request submitted by Cattlemen’s Days Committee President Kevin Coblentz, allowing up to 350 spectators per performance. Rodeos will be held at the county fairgrounds facility Sept. 3, 4, and 5. Spectators essentially will be grouped into two pods” of 175 people each. One pod will be seated in the main grandstands, the other split between the smaller bleachers north of the grandstands and the bleachers, on the other side of the arena, south of the announcer’s booth. A third distinct grouping of people will be rodeo contestants and event staff . Gunnison County Public Information Officer Andrew Sandstrom said County Public Health Director Joni Reynolds felt comfortable in granting permission for spectators based on the “planning and crowd control that Cattlemen’s has committed to and the outdoor nature of the event.”
“Each pod will remain separated and there will be three distinct entrances and exits,” he said. Coblentz further explained that all fans will be screened upon entering, including temperature checks, and required to wear a mask while inside the fairgrounds boundary. After getting approval to hold a spectator-less event and raising the required $150,000 to put it on, Cattlemen’s Days organizers initially submitted a variance asking for 589 fans to be allowed per performance. Th ey revised that request to 422 before being granted 350. Current state regulations allow for outside gatherings up to 175 people. Coblentz said the rodeo, which is usually held in early July, typically attracts approximately 4,000 people per performance. He knows the demand to spectate next week’s events will far exceed the limited availability. “We’re going to make sure everybody who donated gets a ticket,” he said. “If you gave $20 bucks, you’re going to get two tickets.” Those who w will not be able to secure one of the coveted tickets aren’t entirely out of luck, however. Cattlemen’s Days has secured an agreement with the Cowboy Channel, which will feature the local rodeo live each night of the performances. The Cowboy Channel is available on cable, Direct TV and the Dish Network. It also can be viewed by subscribing to their online app.