Friday, July 8, 2011

Rodeo goes off without a hitch

No further bookings at venue for summer


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

Now that Hailey’s Fourth of July rodeo has ended, expansion of Hailey’s nearby world-class skatepark is set to commence. Photo by David N. Seelig

The Days of the Old West Rodeo went off without a hitch at Hailey's new rodeo arena over the Fourth of July weekend. Now that the dust has settled, work crews will begin expanding the nearby skate park.

The Sawtooth Rangers riding club sold out two of three nights of rodeo at the new arena. Sawtooth Rangers President Bill Bobbitt thanked the people of Hailey on opening night for passing a $3.5 million bond that made construction of the new arena possible.

"The rodeo went off just great. It was a great success," Bobbitt said in an interview.

Hailey Public Works Director Tom Hellen said there were a few small glitches to operating the new arena, but nothing the city couldn't handle.

"All down the line, we've heard real positive comments," Hellen said.

The task at hand on Wednesday was hiring equipment to pressure wash the bleachers, at the city's expense.

"That's not something we'd thought about," Hellen said.

Expansion of Hailey's $1.5 million skate park by Oregon-based Dreamlands Skateparks will begin July 12. The plan calls for "street-skating features," including stairs, rails, ramps and relatively level terrain for beginners, compared with the walls, halfpipe and other more challenging terrain at the existing skatepark.

The $187,000 budget for the expansion will be paid for out of city funds allocated by the rodeo bond.

Plans for the rodeo arena include summer concerts, 4-H events and other community activities. The city's hope is that the arena will pay for itself out of user rental fees.

In the past few months, only one inquiry to rent the arena has been made at City Hall, but no one has confirmed a rental date with a deposit.

On Aug. 10-11, the Ride Idaho group of 375 bicyclists touring Idaho will camp nearby at Nelson Field. They may also park trailers in the arena and use showers at the facility.

"We knew people would have to get used to knowing the arena is here and what the possibilities are," Hellen said.

For information about the rental policies at the Hailey rodeo arena, call Hailey City Hall at 788-0821.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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