A successful bid by the Triangle Rodeo Club (TRC) to bring the Kansas Professional Rodeo Association (KPRA) Finals to Kiowa County is expected to draw hundreds of contestants and spectators to the region on Friday.
The KPRA end-of-season event will bring top money earners in regional rodeo contests together for three days of competition at the Kiowa County Fairgrounds.
Contestants from Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Kansas are expected to participate vying for bragging rights and $120,000 in cash and prizes.
“We have a great facility,” said KPRA Vice President and TRC member Mike Greenleaf. “Most rodeos don’t get 300 people to come and watch and we get 500-600 each night. The cowboys wanted to come to Greensburg. They said ‘we love coming to Greensburg’ because they always get a crowd.”
Greenleaf and the TRC crafted a successful bid to bring the KPRA finals to Greensburg earlier in the year.
“I didn’t campaign, I am on the KPRA board but all I said was ‘here it is.’ Honestly, I think it’s a huge compliment to Greensburg that they wanted to come here,” noted Greenleaf. “The cowboys have the pull, it was unanimous. It wasn’t even close.”
The KPRA has moved their finals a number of times in previous years, having been held in Garden City, Scott City and Hays.
Greenleaf explained that each local rodeo club, with additional incentives provided by municipal entities, submits bids to the KPRA board.
Greensburg, Phillipsburg and Liberal submitted equal bids according to Greenleaf.
The TRC, acting as a bid committee, submitted a bid of $8,000 cash, 15 hotel rooms and the cost of rodeo clown Justin Rumford, estimated at $1,800.
Greenleaf said that the Greensburg Tourism Committee contributed $3,500 of the total bid.
“I’m not smart enough to figure this out,” quipped Greenleaf, “but I’d be interested to see what the economic impact of this weekend is on Greensburg.”
Greensburg Convention and Tourism Director Stacy Barnes said the tourism committee felt the expense was a good investment and that it would be returned to not only city businesses, but countywide businesses as well.
“We think it is a great opportunity for Greensburg and Kiowa County,” said Barnes. “We hope our downtown shops do really well.”
The City of Greensburg does not calculate estimates of economic impact from events, so estimates can vary widely.
Greenleaf felt confident estimating the event would bring $75,000-$100,000 to the region, with gas, food and lodging sales shared between Kiowa, Ford and Pratt Counties.
Page 2 of 2 - “We brought a lot of people to town last Fall with the High School Rodeo,” continued Greenleaf, “but that was a different scenario. Those people, when they come to town they have these big elaborate trailers and they stay there. They won’t come to eat and they don’t shop. We were lucky if we sold them fuel. These people are going to come into town. They’re going to go to the restaurants and the shops. They’re [going to be] here. Most of these guys are married and their wives are going to venture downtown, they are going to go to The Big Well and go shopping. [During the High School Rodeo] we were rodeo’ing all day for two days. This weekend we’ll start at 7:30 pm and end at ten. They won’t have anything to do but spend money in town, from the time they wake up until they come back at 7:30 p.m.”
Greenleaf also praised the Kiowa County Media Center who will record the weekend’s events and pre-sell DVDs to contestants and spectators.
“I saw some of that footage they did from the High School Rodeo and it was really, really good. I just met with Grant [Newhold] and we talked about what we’re going to do this weekend.”
Montana Mike will cater the weekend’s events with the local Rotary and Lions clubs serving breakfast on Saturday and Sunday morning. The city pool will be open and there are a number of other county events taking place this weekend, like the Antique Engine and Thresher Show in Haviland.
Contestants will run at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. Visitors can find more information at www.kansasprorodeo.com
“It’s going to be a good rodeo,” added Greenleaf. “It’s supposed to be the best of the best. We’ll bring our best stock, it’ll be a good rodeo to watch.”