MontanaFair rodeo sets record attendance, payouts

2014-08-19T16:42:00Z 2014-08-20T08:27:06Z MontanaFair rodeo sets record attendance, payoutsGazette Staff The Billings Gazette

Rodeo at the recently ended MontanaFair set attendance and payout records, MetraPark officials said.

Bill Dutcher, MetraPark’s general manager, said on Tuesday the three nights of the Yellowstone River Roundup, from Aug. 14 to 16, drew a record 13,854 people, nearly 15 percent more than the 2013 rodeo.

Rodeo participants also shared a record payout of $130,534, up more than 20 percent from last year.

Bob Dunker, chairman of the Cowboy Club, which was formed four years ago to build the Yellowstone River Roundup, said increasing the purse and promoting the rodeo is the club’s mission.

“To get the best to compete at your rodeo, you need to have a large enough purse to justify that trip to Montana,” Dunker said.

The rodeo also helped other rodeos in the state by drawing competitors who could make multiple events, said Jann Parker, secretary of the Cowboy Club. “It is exciting to see the efforts of the Cowboy Club generate economic benefit across the state,” Parker said.

The timing of the rodeo, officials said, helped competitors make a push for winnings and qualifications for the National Finals Rodeo.

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