(Update: Adding video, comments)
'It was heartbreaking last year'
PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Back in 2020, the Crooked River Roundup was getting ready to celebrate the rodeo's 75th anniversary, but the pandemic sidelined their plans.
But this year, they say they're confident they can finally pull off their annual rodeo at the Crook County fairgrounds.
The Roundup's vice president, Steve Holliday, said Wednesday that community members have been meeting at the fairgrounds every Wednesday evening to prepare for their planned start date on June 24.
Holliday says canceling the rodeo last year was devastating for the community.
"It was heartbreaking last year," Holliday said. "Being the 75th year of the rodeo, and not being able to celebrate your birthday."
And when it comes to trying to work out a game plan with so many changes in COVID-19 regulations and mandates, Holliday says it has forced the board of directors to constantly rethink their strategy.
"It's just a nightmare," Holliday said.
But Holliday says their President Jason Snider, alongside the board of directors, have worked countless hours to adjust and press on.
And although Crook County has moved back into Extreme Risk, Holliday says they're trying to keep a positive mindset.
"We want to be optimistic," Holliday said. "I mean, who knows what's going to happen? But we just want to be optimistic, and we're working on things that need (to be) done anyways."
Holliday says they're building new holding pens, creating safer grounds for animals and athletes, and the grandstands will be getting a fresh coat of paint.
But when it comes to the actual event, Holliday says he understands there's still so many variables that could change capacity limits, depending on county risk levels.
He says residents are eager to get outside and enjoy their summer, and he hopes the Crooked River Roundup can set an example for successful live events in Central Oregon.
The three-day event is set to take place June 24-26 at the Crook County Fairgrounds.