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Published May 09, 2009, 07:02 AM

James River Rodeo wins state award

The James River Rodeo in Jamestown was recognized at the 2009 North Dakota Tourism Conference on April 28 in Grand Forks by Gov. John Hoeven and the state tourism department.

By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun

The James River Rodeo in Jamestown was recognized at the 2009 North Dakota Tourism Conference on April 28 in Grand Forks by Gov. John Hoeven and the state tourism department.

The James River Rodeo won the North Dakota Event of the Year Award.

Each year the July event at the county fair attracts close to 1,200 spectators and recently at least 450 participants, said James River Rodeo Association President Marlyn Bertsch.

“It’s nice Jamestown gets recognized for an award like that. We dedicate the award to the whole community,” Bertsch said.

According to Greg Carlson, JRRA vice president, the community has a large part in making the rodeo a success, with at least 100 businesses each year helping out with promotion and other jobs.

The rodeo started in 2002 and for the first two years the JRRA set up a portable arena, with installation of permanent facilities starting in 2004, Bertsch said.

“Pretty much now everything is complete,” he said.

The arena located at the Stutsman County Fairgrounds has permanent bleachers, lights, rough stock shoots and more, Bertsch said.

“(The arena) is pretty amazing. The community support we’ve had has just been tremendous,” Carlson said.

Some of that support has come from the Buffalo City Tourism Foundation, which provided the lights for the arena and also nominated them for the award, Carlson said.

“I nominated them because I see them as one of our poster children for tourism in Jamestown and Stutsman County,” said Nina Sneider, Buffalo City Tourism Foundation director.

Sneider said that with a little seed money, volunteer time and effort, the JRRA has brought an economic impact to the area.

The James River Rodeo is one of many events the JRRA puts on each year in Jamestown, with the number of total events ranging from eight to 14, Bertsch said.

One of the more popular events the JRRA puts on is largest team roping competition in the nation, Bertsch said.

The event, sponsored by Wrangler, covered eight states in 2008 and had 990 team entries, he said.

The Governor’s Travel and Tourism Award was one of eight presented to a variety of different groups and individual leaders in tourism in North Dakota.

Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by e-mail at brodgers@jamestownsun.com

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