Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Idaho Falls takes ownership of War Bonnet Roundup

The city of Idaho Falls has taken over the War Bonnet Roundup, Idaho’s oldest professional rodeo.

At a City Council work session Monday, Parks and Recreation Director Greg Weitzel reported that he had reached an agreement with American Legion Idaho Post 56 to acquire the rodeo’s property and management responsibilities. Under the agreement, the Legion, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, has transferred the rodeo to the city free and clear while retaining the right to operate grandstand concessions for three years, with two-year extension option. The Legion will pay 15 percent of its rodeo concession income to the city.

The sale price was estimated at $16,000,  and included all intellectual property, goods and equipment. Because was under $25,000, it no formal council action was required, only administrative action.

With more than 15,000 people attending every year, the rodeo has grown to the point where the Legion is having difficulty managing the event, said Post 56 Commander Bob Skinner. Sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association, last year the War Bonnet saw a record-breaking 477 participants.

“The time is right to transfer the responsibility to a larger organization, which will allow this great asset to grow even bigger and better,” he said. “We look forward to working side-by-side with the city to help this great event become a destination rodeo for all people in the west and beyond.”

For decades the War Bonnet Roundup has been held at Sandy Downs, a facility owned and managed by the city. It will celebrate its 105th anniversary in 2016.

“Many rodeos throughout the United States are run by cities because they bring in a great deal of revenue and have a positive economic impact,” Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper said. Over the years the Parks and Recreation Department has honed its rodeo management skills and developed the necessary resources and personnel, she said.