Eugene Pro Rodeo organizers back in the saddle for 30th year

Organizers are expecting big crowds for this weekend’s event.

Posted: Jul 1, 2021 7:13 PM

EUGENE, Ore. – Organizers of the Eugene Pro Rodeo are back in the saddle and expecting big crowds for this weekend’s event.

After a year off due to COVID-19, the 30th Annual Eugene Pro Rodeo returns Friday for three days of roping, bucking, racing and more.
Jaymie Defoe Hansen said the response to their announced return has been tremendous.

“So far our sponsors and all the people coming out, and even our contestants’ numbers, are higher than ever before. I think everybody is really ready for an event,” Hansen said.

Merchant Richard Reinert couldn’t agree more.

“It's just like starting brand new,” he said.

Reinert grew up watching and then competing in rodeo professionally. For the past 24 years, he’s been selling goods in the shadows of the arenas. He’s thrilled to be back on the road, hitting about 24 events each year.

“It feels good because sitting on your butt, you get fat and lazy, and ya know I'm not used to a ‘honey do list,’” he said.

New this year, credit cards and debit cards will be accepted, and seating will be general admission only. That decision was made during planning stages when they were unsure how many people would be allowed due to social distancing and other guidelines.

“We didn't know if attendance would be 25 percent capacity, or 50 percent, and now being able to open up to full capacity, we're beyond thrilled and we could not ask for more this year,” Hansen said.

Organizers are encouraging fans to buy tickets online ahead of time, and they say sales are up over previous years.

Friday is family night. Saturday is Tough Enough to Wear Pink night to raise awareness about breast cancer and to support survivors through Oregon Cancer Foundation’s Financial Assistance Program. Each night will end with fireworks with a grand finale on Sunday, the Fourth of July.

Gates open at 5 p.m. with the rodeo starting at 7:30.

It’s a three-day stretch requiring a lot of work and long days. But they all believe it’s better than the alternative -- time off like a year ago -- especially for Reinert.

“It's the most time I've ever had off. If this is what retirement is like, I don't want any part of it,” he said.

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