The Philomath News sat down with Philomath Frolic & Rodeo’s Chris Workman, who handles publicity as part of his role on the organization’s board of directors, to talk about this year’s celebration. This is the first in a series of four preview stories for the Frolic, which begins July 5 with a single evening activity and runs through July 8.
Back in 2017, the Philomath Frolic & Rodeo started a transition to online ticket sales for folks to get into the arena to watch the evening performances. Long wait times in front of the ticket office could go away and rodeo fans would no longer need to wear bracelets to get in and out of the stands.
Plus, organizers could keep a better count on exactly how many people they’re letting into the arena in an effort to improve the viewing experience.
Six years later, the online ticket-purchasing system is pretty much a must for those who want to take in the action.
“You’ve just gotta buy them ahead of time,” Philomath Frolic & Rodeo board member Chris Workman said earlier this week. “I mean, don’t wait until the day of to try to buy tickets. … If you haven’t bought your tickets yet, you really need to get on there and buy them.”
The online system includes the option of sitting in a reserved seating section. With Friday and Saturday rodeo nights often selling out, the online option has become attractive for most fans.
“It’s not like the old days when you keep selling and keep squishing people in and squishing people in,” Workman said. “When you buy your ticket online, you get your 20 inches — that’s your spot — we don’t oversell the arena and I think that makes for a better experience.”
The arena this year will feature four sections of reserved seating (A, B, C and E) and two sections of general admission (D and F), the latter sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
“Most of the arena, 80% of it, is reserved seating,” Workman said. “So you don’t have to show up three hours ahead of time, you don’t have to lay out your blankets (to save your seat) and it’s just like any other arena — you have your ticket, you have your seat and you can show up three minutes before it starts or 10 minutes after it starts and you’re going to have your spot.”
COMING SUNDAY: READ ABOUT WHAT TO EXPECT AT THIS YEAR’S RODEO PERFORMANCES
The two sections offering general admission seating are in metal bleachers.
“We’re bringing in two sets of temporary bleachers — one to fill that cavity that’s there from the fire and we’re putting in another one in the beer garden area,” Workman said. “We’ve had standing-room only with very limited visibility there, which means people are climbing up on hay bales and up on tables and on their boyfriends’ shoulders or whatever to get a view. So we’re going to set up temporary bleachers in that beer garden area.”
Staff will still be selling at the on-site ticket office but as Workman said, it could be hard to get in on Friday or Saturday without paying in advance through the online system. Last year, all tickets for the rodeo finale on Saturday night were sold out by the previous day, which meant the only way to get in to see the action was through a standing-room only ticket.
That could be especially important for those planning to watch the rodeo in a larger group.
“If you’ve got a group or a family of six or eight people going together, that’s getting harder to find,” Workman said. “You can get a couple here, one here, one there but if you wait too long, you’ll end up being a little spread out or having to buy general admission tickets and hoping to get there early enough to be able to get your spots.”
The final night is a big seller, but the Friday night performance can also be a tough ticket to find, also selling out last year.
“We do the fireworks at night and then we have all our sponsors there so we give away a lot of tickets for the Friday night show,” Workman said. So when you look at the seating map for Friday night, there’s not a lot there, it’s pretty sparse. Saturday will sell out again come the first of July through the third, fourth, fifth of July — those tickets are going to sell. I have confidence that we’ll sell out Friday and Saturday night again this year.”
Online ticket prices for reserved seating Thursday, Friday and Saturday are $22 for standard admission (ages 14 and older) and $13 for junior admission (ages 3-13). General admission prices are $20 for standard and $10 for junior. At the gate, tickets are $3 more for standard admission and $2 more for junior admission. Children ages 2 and under are free if they sit on a lap.
Admission also includes the after-rodeo dance each evening. For those who do not want to watch the rodeo with plans to only attend the dance, admission is $15 at the ticket office.
Purchase tickets online at www.philomathfrolic.org/buy-tickets.
The slack rodeo at 11 a.m. Friday (roping and racing only, no rough stock) will be $5 standard admission and free for junior admission.
The ticket office opens at 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday.
Parking is $5 at the gate with no advance sales.