EDITORIAL: County’s big enough for two rodeos

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“This town ain’t big enough for the both of us, and I’m going to give you 24 hours to get out.”

Those immortal words come from the 1932 oater “The Western Code,” but they might as well have been uttered by a member of the Flathead County Fair Board this week when they challenged the new kid in town, the Bigfork Summer PRCA Pro Rodeo.

Fair board members (and Fair Manager Mark Campbell) contend that the new rodeo on July 6 and 7 will take business away from the fair’s PRCA rodeo on Aug. 16-18, and they have lodged a protest with the PRCA board of directors to shut down the Bigfork event, which would be held at a temporary arena to be built near the intersection of Montana 35 and Montana 82.

Well, goodness. The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association is one of the top organizations in the country for producing quality rodeos, and we think the huge interest in their shows would more than adequately support separate events at two such different locations more than a month apart.

If anything, the earlier rodeo might very well create a sense of anticipation for the later fair rodeo, as local fans could follow some of their favorite cowboys as they compete for national bragging rights.

It’s not as though fans are going to have to decide between the Bigfork and Kalispell events. These reasonably priced competitive sports events are going to draw fans across the board, and if one event is going to come up short, it would almost certainly be the newfangled Bigfork rodeo, not the 64-year-old rodeo associated with the county fair.

The PRCA board of directors will make a decision within a day or two. We hope Bigfork gets a chance to host this new event, which promises to be a popular draw for tourists during the busy Fourth of July weekend.

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