Rodeo 'rounds up' economic impact

ALAMOSA — Acknowledging its economic impact to the Alamosa and San Luis Valley area, the Alamosa city council has again decided to sponsor Alamosa Round-UP.

A 2016 economic impact study estimated the Round-UP provided $1.6 million worth of economic impact to the area and its associated Christmas light parade another $120,000, Round-UP committee member Dawn Honeycutt told the city council during a recent meeting.

Honeycutt said because Round-UP made some money last year, she was asking less from the city to help sponsor the event. She said she was only asking for a $4,000 sponsorship this year, which the council unanimously approved.

Councilman Ty Coleman thanked the Round-UP committee and particularly the Honeycutt family for putting the rodeo and Christmas parade together. He said these events provide a great return on investment for the small amount of money the city provides as a sponsor.

He said he especially appreciated that these were family-oriented events.

Councilman Michael Stefano added, “It’s really a great event … It’s about as American as apple pie and hot dogs.”

“I think it’s $4,000 very well spent,” added Councilor Liz Thomas Hensley. “The impact from social and economic, without a doubt it’s a great investment. It’s something we are getting a good value.”

“Thank you for all you do,” Councilman Jan Vigil added.

Alamosa Mayor Josef Lucero said, “It’s fun for everyone. Everyone can have a great time and walk away from it saying ‘Isn’t Alamosa a great place to live in?’”

“We want to be a community event that supports and helps out the community,” Honeycutt said.

She added the social impact is just as important as the financial one. Round-UP is a family friendly event that is great for all ages, she said.

“There’s something for everybody during that week.”

Honeycutt said last year’s Round-UP rodeo was a great event with a total of 448 contestants for the PRCA rodeo alone — cowgirls and cowboys from all over the country.

“They love coming to our rodeo,” she said.

She said contestants competing in Santa Fe’s rodeo come here too, since the two are timed to work together. The contestants even come early so they can enjoy breakfast with the Round-UP crew.

By coming early, contestants spend more money in Alamosa and the surrounding area, she pointed out.

In addition to the rodeo itself, Round-Up hosts a demolition derby, which last year drew the highest number of spectators ever, Honeycutt said.

“It was standing room only.”

Associated events like the mutton bustin’ contest also draw good crowds, she added.

Honeycutt said she hopes to get some portable bleachers for the events that draw the bigger crowds so no one has to be turned away.

“We are still heading in the right direction,” she said.

She said Round-UP added an ATV rodeo last year for the first time, and it was well supported, so that event will be back again this year.

In addition to the rodeo, Round-UP sponsors an annual Christmas light parade in December, which Honeycutt said has grown in the number of participants and spectators.

“The streets were packed with people again,” she said.

She added that people start calling her in August to enter the parade.

Honeycutt said this year’s Alamosa Round-UP schedule June 20-25 will be similar with:

• The Ranch Rodeo on Tuesday

• Barbecue and mutton bustin’ on Wednesday

• High noon cattle drive on Thursday (it was on Saturday last year but is moving back to Thursday this year)

• Breakfast, slack competition, rodeo performances, military appreciation night and “tough enough to wear pink” night (with proceeds going to the Stephanie L. Miner Women’s Imaging Center locally) and block party on Friday

• Demolition derby on Saturday (with more prize money available this year)

• Cowboy church and ATV rodeo on Sunday.

The Christmas light parade will be December 15 this year.

Honeycutt said the Round-UP committee is trying to help other community organizations. For example, Round-UP allows other nonprofits to sell concessions or help with the barbecue as fund-raisers for their groups. The committee looks forward to helping with the Stephanie L. Miner Women’s Imaging Center this year as well, she said.

“You guys have done a great job,” said Councilman Charles Griego. “You have built that up.”

He said he has always advocated for the city to provide seed money for these types of events and then they can become sustainable, which he hoped would happen with Round-UP, “but you do bring a lot of people in.”

Honeycutt said it is the committee’s goal to be totally self sustainable, and she can’t wait for the time when she does not have to ask the city for any assistance.

Jerry Honeycutt added the city and tourism board continue to support the Round-UP. The tourism board also supports ongoing events such as Early Iron, he added.

“When you guys put city money into the rodeo, I feel that I am accountable to you guys,” he told the council. “I want to be good stewards of your money.”

Jerry Honeycutt said although the goal is not to have the city for money in the future, “I am not taking a back seat. I think it’s good that we partner. It makes me work harder knowing you put seed money in to help.”

He said, “We really appreciate you guys. Without you guys it wouldn’t be possible.”