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Sold-out rodeo called a success

| August 4, 2004 12:00 AM

By Heidi Desch, Western News Intern

The first year was a success.

Cowboys and cowgirls from all over Montana and the Northwest came to compete on Friday and Saturday at the first Kootenai River Rodeo.

Sell-out crowds watched the barrel racing, steer wrestling and bull fighting both nights at J. Neils Memorial Park.

³It was a total, all-around success,² Libby Area Chamber of Commerce Director Louise Rice said.

The PRCA personnel and the cowboys were very happy with the rodeo and they¹re enthused about coming back, Rice said.

She said that some of this year¹s food vendors have already asked to return and some that want to participate in next year¹s event have contacted her. She¹s also talked with people interested in being sponsors for next year.

J. Neils Memorial Park wasn¹t the only place where success could be found during the weekend.

Coinciding with the rodeo, the Downtown Merchants and Libby Revitalization Inc. sponsored a free rodeo street dance Friday night on Mineral Avenue.

Mark Epperson with the Downtown Merchants called the dance a ³good experience.²

³The crowd was real positive,² said Epperson.

He said the group is definitely considering hosting the dance again for next year¹s rodeo and possibly at other times.

³We¹re thinking of doing it a little more often,² he said.

Rodeo organizers are already planning for next year, too.

Before the rodeo, organizers had plans in the works to build a 1,000 seat covered grand stand to add to the new arena built this year. After this year¹s success Rice said she¹s glad they¹re planning on more seating.

Besides working on next year¹s seating, Rice said the committee also has a few adjustments to make for next year.

³Without the help of the total committee, it (this year¹s event) wouldn¹t have happened,² said Rice. ³We just have a few small things to work on.²