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Published July 06, 2009, 06:47 AM

Rodeo here this weekend

The James River Rodeo promises to stick to last year’s game plan, officials said. What was done last year, worked, said Marlyn Bertsch, James River Rodeo committee member. The eighth annual James River Rodeo is set for July 10-11. “Hopefully nothing is different than last year because everything went really well,” he said.

By: Katie Ryan, The Jamestown Sun

The James River Rodeo promises to stick to last year’s game plan, officials said. What was done last year, worked, said Marlyn Bertsch, James River Rodeo committee member.

The eighth annual James River Rodeo is set for July 10-11.

“Hopefully nothing is different than last year because everything went really well,” he said.

The rodeo received state recognition recently, receiving the Governor’s Travel Tourism Event of the Year Award in April, said Nina Sneider, Buffalo City Tourism Foundation director. The event’s volunteers exceed expectations, she said.

“They (the James River Rodeo committee) created the arena out there out of an empty field full of beer cans,” Sneider said.

This year, as in previous years, both adults and juniors will compete in events including the bareback, saddle bronc, barrel racing and calf roping competitions. Event favorites are typically bull riding and team roping, committee members agreed. All-around saddles will be awarded to the junior all-around boy and girl.

“It’s one of those sports that you don’t just sit on your couch and watch,” said Casey Aldinger, committee member.

The event is family-friendly, said Greg Carlson, committee member. In some events, three generations of a single family compete or come to see the performances. Ticket prices have only changed once in the event’s eight years.

“We want to make it affordable for the family to come out and watch,” Carlson said.

About 1,300 people attended the rodeo last year, said Traci Bertsch, committee member. And many of them aren’t from Jamestown. Last year, contestants traveled here from various states including Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas, and even Canada.

James River Rodeo events are credited with creating about a $2 million economic impact since 2004, Sneider said.

But even though a lot of the work is done by volunteers, the rodeo wouldn’t be possible without the help of the Stutsman County Fair Board and area businesses, Bertsch said.

In fact, many organizations play a role in the rodeo.

Relay for Life participants collect tickets at the door and the James River Senior and Community Center sells concessions. The revenue earned from concessions benefits the Meals on Wheels program.

The rodeo costs about $34,000 to host, Bertch said. The committee uses the leftover funds for maintenance and repair, but it also donates to youth groups, community organizations and area residents who have serious illnesses, he said.

Tickets to the rodeo are $8 for adults, $5 for youth ages 6-16 and free for children under 5 years of age. Performances begin at 6:30 both evenings with slack beginning 30 minutes after each performance.

Sun reporter Katie Ryan can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by e-mail at kryan@jamestownsun.com

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