Gooding Pro Rodeo recognized as Wilderness Circuit’s best large rodeo
GOODING, Idaho – There are few, if any, rodeos across North America that have the atmosphere that’s found over four August nights in this town of 3,700 people.
Gooding Pro Rodeo is a spectacle, an event that draws out the greatest of everything that’s part of the event, the best cowboys and cowgirls, the best bucking animals and the best fans. The people who come to town to either compete in or work at the rodeo realize one thing: They will be entertained by people who pay to be entertained.
It all adds up to something special during the Gooding Pro Rodeo, set for Thursday, Aug. 17-Saturday, Aug. 19, with a special “Beauty and the Beast” performance on Wednesday, Aug. 16. All performances take place at 8 p.m. at Andy James Arena.
When award-winning announcer Steve Kenyon speaks, people not only listen, but they also will celebrate his voice and the action that takes place inside the arena on the Gooding County Fairgrounds. When Jill Franzen Loden clicks her computer to the affect or music that has made her the PRCA Sound Director of the Year, it will match the energy throughout the complex.
“We’ve built something really good over the years, especially the last 20 or so that we’ve been a ProRodeo,” said Don Gill, the fair and rodeo’s manager. “We’ve brought in the right people to help us put on the kind of show that is worthy of the folks who buy tickets and want to be part of our rodeo. This is for them as much as it is anybody else.
“We’ve got fantastic sponsors who understand our vision, and it’s continuing to work.”
The proof is in the recognition the event has received. This past fall, Gooding Pro Rodeo was named the Large Rodeo of the Year in the Wilderness Circuit, a series of rodeos primarily in Utah and southern Idaho. It was the second straight year for the honor, and there’s a good chance that trend will continue.
The 2022 edition of the rodeo was record-breaking in regards to attendance and broadcasting viewership. It’s looking pretty good for this year; with both the Friday and Saturday performances being sold out already, organizers are preparing for even bigger numbers this August.
“Last year, we sold out three of our four nights, and that was after we’d added 1,000 seats,” Gill said. “We paid out over $200,000, which is another record for us. The contestants came for the money, and they found it.”
Gill and others also utilize the help of three livestock producers: Summit Pro Rodeo, Macza Pro Rodeo and Korkow Rodeos. That ensures that bareback riders, saddle bronc riders and bull riders will have a good opportunity to cash in when they get to this southern Idaho gem.
“I love this rodeo,” said bull rider Garrett Smith, a four-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Rexburg, Idaho. “This is just a cowboy’s rodeo.
“This is one of the funnest rodeos we have going. Everyone wants to come here, and everyone knows about the Gooding Pro Rodeo.”
That sentiment is shared by many others, whether they ride bucking broncs or manhandle cattle.
“For being such a small town, this is one of the coolest rodeos we go to all year just because of the atmosphere,” said Montana steer wrestler Ty Erickson, the 2019 world champion. “They pack the stands every night, and they like to have a good time.”
When all the pieces fit, the puzzle makes for a brilliant picture, and the folks in Gooding have something to brag about because of it.