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City council talks contracts, costs for ‘Best of the Best Rodeo’

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One of the premiere events for Gallup, “The Best of the Best Rodeo” is fast approaching, and Assistant City Manager Jon DeYoung wants to make it grow.  At the Jan. 14 meeting of the Gallup City Council, he called for funding, saying, “This year, there are plans for more sponsors, more contestants, and extending dates and increasing fees a bit.”

This year’s rodeo, the seventh, is slated for June 23-27 at Red Rock Park. The City of Gallup describes The Best of the Best Rodeo as the place where America’s top junior high and high school rodeo athletes compete for big cash payouts and prizes. DeYoung added, this could be one of the best years for the event.

He called for approval for the event’s budget. According to the budget presented at the meeting, the event is estimated to draw in just under $412,700 in revenue. This is against estimated expenditures that total to $390,930 from the city’s 590 fund, which includes crew costs, stock, supplies, and payouts.

The expenditures were budgeted to make sure any potential contingencies are included, DeYoung said, such as having to hire more people than expected.

“This past year, the rodeo kind of blew up on us,” he said. “We had more contestants than we anticipated.”

Rodeo Manager Walt Eddy was present and spoke about the increase in participants and how the rodeo will utilize limited resources like RV rental spaces.

“We’re going to state there are a set number of stalls and RV spaces available,” Eddy said. “Hopefully that pushes more people and some of the overflow to local hotels.”

This decision was made after last year’s event where the rodeo ran out of RV spots and people had to resort to finding hotel rooms.

The second item was approving the contract for Eddy to organize and manage the rodeo.

This year’s contract includes a number of changes, such as adding a morning slack and night performance on June 23, and moving the payment terms from the middle of the month to the end of the month.

The contract indicates all the professional rodeo staff to be hired for the event.  It also states the cost will not exceed the set amount.

The city will in turn control the RV park during the event.

Eddy took a moment to voice his appreciation to the city council, and talk about how their support has helped the event grow from an idea in his head all the way to where it is now.

Mayor Jackie McKinney also thanked Eddy for the work he has done, and noted that Best of the Best has helped draw more visitors to Gallup.

“It was great to be out there and see [the rodeo] as a welcome wagon, welcoming participants to our community,” he said. “Once they’ve been in this community and see[n] what we have to offer, it’s a great feeling.”

Both items were approved with a 5-0-0 vote.

Other items discussed at the meeting:

The contract award to DePauli Engineering and Surveying for design of the Nizhoni Boulevard Reconstruction Project, totaling about $362,197, was approved with a 5-0-0 vote. The project includes reconstruction of ADA-compliant sidewalks on both sides of the street from Hospital Drive to Second Street, storm drainage improvements, and a dedicated northbound turn lane off Nizhoni onto Second Street for traffic movement facilitation.

The City of Gallup received $800,000 from the New Mexico MainStreet program for construction of the Coal Avenue Commons. The council approved the acceptance of the award with a 5-0-0 vote.

By Cody Begaye
Sun Correspondent