By STEPHANIE BUNKER
Moapa Valley Progress
Attendance numbers were up as huge crowds flocked to the nightly rodeo events held at the Clark County Fair. The total number of tickets sold for the rodeo this year was 15,119.
Clark County Fair Director Todd Robison attributed the great numbers to spring break being the same week. “Spring Break and Easter Sunday comes around the time of the fair about every 6 years it seems,” Robison said. “We seem to experience this strong showing early on and then a fall off in attendance on Easter Sunday.”
But despite low numbers on Sunday, the good attendance on earlier days more than made up for it.
This small town rodeo has become part of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and is included in the Wrangler Million Dollar. For a cowboy to compete in the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) they must participate and place in many of these regular season rodeos. Because the Clark County Fair and Rodeo is part of that tour, it is a major stop for many of the top cowboys.
Once again the Clark County Rodeo invited NFR announcer and friend of the Clark County Fair and Rodeo Boyd Polhamus to come spend time with the crowd here in Logandale. Robison recalled Polhamus commenting that this is one of his favorite rodeos to attend.
The Rodeo Clown of the Year Justin Rumford lightened the atmosphere throughout the 5 day rodeo. Polhamus and Rumford worked together cracking jokes and entertaining the audience.
The total payout for this year’s rodeo was $241,372. The All Around Cowboy Award went to Trevor Brazile for doing well in the tie-down and team roping events.
In the tie-down roping, Tim Pharr won the average with an 26.7 second run on 3 calves.
The average winner on steer wrestling was Dakota Eldridge with a 15.8 second time on three steers. Dustin Egusquiza and Kory Koontz won the average for the team roping with a 16.1 second run on three steers.
The bareback riding average winner went to Wyatt Bloom with 168.5 points on two head. The saddle bronc ride went to Rusty Wright with 163 points on two head of horses.
Amberleigh Moore won the barrel racing average in 34.42 seconds on two runs.
The bull riding average went to Garrett Smith with 176 points on two bulls.
The Clark County Rodeo adds a local flavor with the Sponsor Team Roping. The audience gets to see locals out there roping, in addition to the rodeo professionals.
The Sponsor Teams compete against each other on the first three nights. Then on Saturday the top 4 teams return to compete for the title. The winning team and their sponsor receive a pair of spurs. This year’s winner was Broc Goddard and Richie Griffith, riding for sponsor Tom Collins.
On Saturday night there was a special ceremony in remembrance of former Rodeo Director Doug Schwartz. Schwartz, had directed the rodeo for many years and was responsible for putting it on the map and making it part of the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour. He was killed last June when he was hit by a car in Elko.
Schwartz has proven a difficult component of the rodeo to replace. Robison said he already knew the business side of the rodeo, but what he didn’t know was all the details that Schwartz put into it.
“He was a true leader,” Robison said. “He had things delegated out to everyone and they knew what their roles were.”
“Filling in behind a friend was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, knowing that he was gone,” Robison added.
During Saturday’s tribute program a special slideshow honoring Schwartz was presented. There was also a special presentation for Schwartz’s family. Being the one responsible for putting together the sponsor team roping event, Schwartz’s friends said that he always wanted to win the spurs awarded to the winners of that event. Indeed, Schwartz himself often participated in the event. So in honor of Schwartz, his family was presented with a pair of spurs.
“The presentation was very touching,” said Clark County Fair Manager Kevin Willard. “All of the cowboys in the back are normally warming up and getting ready for their event, but every one of them stopped and watched the presentation, which is unheard of.”
Despite the hardship of putting the rodeo together without Schwartz, the Clark County Fair Board still brought its fans and it’s contestants a top quality performance every night. “I am overall pleased with the way things came off,” Robison said. “The things we need to fix are only minor and we have it pretty well dialed in.”