(Update: Adding formal announcement)
'All of a sudden, everything was going in the wrong direction'
SISTERS, Ore. (KTVZ) – Yet again, the 80th Sisters Rodeo – and its many fans and the community -- will have to wait another year, as the rodeo board voted unanimously Tuesday night to cancel “The Biggest Little Show in the World” for a second straight year, due to COVID-19 public health restrictions.
The June 9-13 rodeo dates had been set over a month ago – but “all of a sudden, everything was going in the wrong direction,” board Vice President Rodger Dwight told NewsChannel 21.
Dwight said they’d been working for 2-3 months with state government and health officials amid the ups and downs of risk levels and the line, and in the end, “we were just not able to meet all the metrics.”
“We needed two months” of solid preparation once it was a go, he said, and they stretched that as far as they could before making the call, which “definitely was unanimous.”
“We had three big hurdles to get over,” Dwight said. “One was trying to get as many people in there as we could, then the spacing, and finally the (level) of risk on the risk chart.”
Deschutes County was moved back to the “High Risk” level from “Moderate Risk” as of last Friday, again reducing capacity for events and businesses.
The decision was no doubt a difficult one, due to "the economic impact to the community and everything else," Dwight said.
The Sisters Rodeo issued this news release Wednesday morning:
SISTERS RODEO ASSOCIATION MAKES UNANIMOUS DECISION TO CANCEL 2021 EVENT
Recent COVID-19 spikes combined with State of Oregon Health Authority Regulations prove too much for the “Biggest Little Show in the World.”
Due to the unfortunate rise in COVID-19 cases and the restrictions enforced by local & state government agencies, the Sisters Rodeo Association (SRA) Board of Directors made a unanimous decision on April 13, 2021, to cancel the 2021 Sisters Rodeo and subsequent events for the second year in a row.
The Directors have worked diligently with State and County officials for the past several weeks and looked at the situation from all angles including feedback from community businesses, fellow rodeo associations, stock contractors and sponsors. The Sisters Rodeo Association would like to thank the Deschutes County Commissioners for their hard work and support during this process.
“We were not able to meet all of the standards and protocols established by the State of Oregon’s Health Authority. The recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Deschutes County put our five-day event in the high-risk category. With the limitations placed on events for capacity, we had to make our decision based on our financial capabilities to try again next year [in 2022] to have a full capacity rodeo,” said SRA President Curt Kallburg. Postponing the rodeo to a later date in 2021 was not an option. Due to other obligations, the rodeo’s stock contractor, announcers, and entertainment/contracted personnel would be unable to all get to Sisters at the same time. All tickets for the 2021 rodeo that have been pre-sold will automatically rollover to the equivalent dates for the 2022 Sisters Rodeo.
Rodeo Directors are in the process of notifying members, sponsors, contractors, vendors, and media of the 2021 cancellation. Although there is a chance the virus may be under more control by June, the safety of the volunteers, members, and the possible exposure they would be subjected to while working at the rodeo is the prime concern. The rodeo is also obligated to notify the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) of the cancellation in a timely manner to allow contestants and contractors to be informed and able to make other arrangements.
“With heavy hearts, the decision had to be made,” said SRA Public Relations Director, Amorita Anstett. “The Sisters Rodeo will survive and will come back next year. We ask our fans and community to stay with us during these challenging times and hope, that come the second week of June in 2022 we will be ready to rodeo and once again present the ‘Biggest Little Show in the World.’”