A rodeo competitor can only smile after finding himself on the ground Saturday night in the arena. (Photo by Leon Neuschwander/Philomath News)

Now that the dust has settled on another Philomath Frolic & Rodeo, the board of directors will have a lot to discuss in the coming months. The local organization worked through the monumental task of getting the facility ready for the July 7-9 rodeo performances following a June 27 fire that took out one of the sections in the grandstands.

The Frolic saw very good attendance numbers considering the situation by bringing in temporary bleachers and selling a lot of standing room-only tickets.

“We’ve really not had a lot of opportunities to talk about what’s next, so that’ll be the next big hurdle for the board of directors — to take a look at the current situation and step back,” said Chris Workman, who sits on the Frolic’s board of directors. “We need to look at the capacity of the current grandstands and the bleachers and we need to look at how we can increase that capacity.”

There’s a lot to discuss and consider when settling on a definitive direction for the future of a Frolic arena.

“If that means adding to the existing grandstands, if that means a complete rebuild, if it means a relocation — I think everything’s on the table at this point,” Workman said. “My goal, just personally as a member of the board, is to within six months have a concept that we can put up in front of the community on what we think we should rebuild, what it’s going to look like, materials, location and start some capital campaigning, start looking for grants and really have a program in place that we can follow to be at full capacity as quickly as possible.”

That’s one board member’s perspective and there are 11 others with a seat at the table to share their thoughts on the matter. But last weekend’s attendance numbers did provide particularly interesting insights, especially with the standing room-only admissions on Friday and Saturday combined added up to 1,006.

The Frolic saw very good attendance on Saturday night. (Photo by Leon Neuschwander/Philomath News)

“I can point to 1,000 people that went to the rodeo that paid to go and we didn’t have a seat for them,” Workman said. “They were willing to pay just to stand around and some of them watch it on TV in the beer garden and others stand on shoulders or hay bales or tables just to get a glimpse.”

So the demand seems to be there. A big question will be what kind of future seating configuration to eventually build.

“Going forward when we’re looking at grandstands, bleachers, seating, it’s not just what’s going to meet our current demand … it’s five years, 10 years out, 15 years from now,” Workman said. “I think one of the considerations the board of directors is going to have to look at is the need to build for future capacity, not just build for current needs.”

As Workman pointed out, the folks involved with the Frolic haven’t had much time to think about any future plans.

“We spent a lot of our focus on getting the stands where they needed to be to be able to have a successful rodeo,” Workman said. “We did it with the support of the community and our sponsors and our volunteers. Our board members stepped up in a huge way and got the grounds ready to put on a great Frolic rodeo weekend.”

Workman said everybody did an incredible job.

“You’d never know that we had a fire less than two weeks ago before the start of the event,” he said. “The grounds were clean, they were in great shape and the temporary bleachers were installed and fenced, and all of the safety measures were put in place.”

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.