Let’s face it, we are letting our heritage die in Pahrump. If we don’t do something about rodeos in town, it will slip away.
For a lot of rodeo fans, the rodeo truly represents Pahrump’s history. There were no famous gunslingers that I know of that came through this valley, but we did have ranchers.
Pahrump was settled by ranchers and farmers and what did the original settlers do for entertainment, they had a rodeo.
Of course it wasn’t anything fancy, and it definitely wasn’t run by the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association. It was just a few ranchers getting together to see who was the best cowboy in town.
So, if the town wants to support something that truly represents the town’s history, in my opinion it should be the rodeo. Not some water park or even gunfighter shows.
Pahrump used to have eight to ten rodeos a year. In 2008, we lost the rodeo club and team at the high school. In 2009 the PRCA did their last rodeo in town.
Since 2009 the amount of rodeos in town has dwindled to just one and that is at the Fall Festival in September.
Any professional rodeo people living in town left when the PRCA rodeo stopped coming to town.
For those who argue that we still have one coming to town, please, there is a big difference, and if you don’t know the difference you aren’t a true rodeo fan.
Then there was the high school rodeos. If you want to generate interest in a sport it has to be supported by sponsors and insurance. The money ran out. Now there are just a handful of high-school-age students still interested in competing in the sport and that number gets smaller every year.
The different families still involved in rodeo say that the cost of doing it at the high school level is high because most of the high school rodeos are in the Northern part of the state.
I talked to many people involved with rodeo in town on why the PRCA was not here and each of the people I talked to would tell me something different. Some of them said we didn’t have enough hotel space. Another person told me the arena wasn’t configured right and still another person said the town wouldn’t support a PRCA rodeo anymore.
I had the privilege of traveling to Vernal, Utah last summer, which is a small town in the Northeastern part of the state next to the Dinosaur National Monument. That town has the PRCA. You want to guess at the population of Vernal? It’s around 10,000 people, and far smaller than Pahrump’s nearly 40,000.
The prize money for their Dinosaur Roundup in Vernal was $70,000 last year and that purse was put up by this small town.
Vernal has a committee of eight dedicated volunteers who raise $170,000 a year to put on the PRCA rodeo. If a small town like Vernal can do this, why can’t Pahrump?
I know we can get the PRCA back. It’s up to the town to do the work.