As the county, state and region gets back into the groove after a long stretch of pandemic restrictions, the Philomath Frolic & Rodeo provided an opportunity for folks to get back out there for a little fun this summer.
The annual community celebration wrapped up Saturday night with the final rodeo performance and dance. Chris Workman, Frolic & Rodeo board member who organizes events and publicity, said it was great to see it all come together again this year after being limited to a fireworks display in 2020.
“Mostly, it’s fun to see neighbors and friends and people from the community come together and just enjoy being with each other, being outdoors and having a good time,” Workman said. “There were a couple of different times where I’d see friends kinda spy each other, come walking up and just hug and almost break down crying just being happy to see each other and you could tell it was the first time they’d seen each other in a while.”
The rodeo gate was a success with attendance numbers of 1,200 on Thursday night, 2,300 on Friday night and 2,414 on Saturday night — those last two considered to be sellouts. Standing-room only tickets are sold for people who want to watch from the beer garden either from a distance or on TV monitors.
“I was working the crowd in our general admission areas because we were sold out on tickets and people kinda like to spread out so I had to go to the crowd and ask them to scoot together and so I used that phrase, ‘Scoot together like you haven’t seen each other in a year and a half’ and I got some pretty good laughs,” Workman added. “But really that’s the truth of it — for a lot of people, this is the first big event they’ve come to, so it was a lot of fun to watch that happen.”
After being forced to skip last year’s rodeo, the organization could use the money from those successful attendance numbers.
“We don’t necessarily lose money when we don’t do the rodeo but we don’t make any money either,” Workman said. “We do have several repairs to the grounds that need to be done — we’ve got some water lines that have broken and just ongoing maintenance that needs to be done … so the rodeo’s helpful just to keep the grounds up.”
Beyond routine maintenance issues, the income also allows the organization to look at sprucing up the place.
“There’s some improvements that we want to make at the rodeo grounds that if we don’t have some revenue coming in, we won’t ever get to do those improvements,” Workman said. “Everything from just general maintenance and maintaining stuff to doing improvements, it all takes revenue.”
Workman said the rodeo and dance nights were pretty much uneventful as far as any problems that can come up.
“Our security does a really good job for us to make sure things don’t get out of hand,” he said. “For the most part, people are just glad to hang out and see each other and have a good time.”