SCHLEICHER COUNTY, Texas — The Top of the Divide Rodeo returns for its 51st year and Thursday, organizers announced some changes. One of those is canceling the main stage concert that brings in approximately 1,000 spectators, according to organizers.
Thursday reported that the main concert would not happen at the rodeo. However, it was not specified that the headliner concert featuring artist Mike Ryan was canceled. The rodeo and dance featuring the Stateline Band of Midland is still set to take place.
Clint Griffin, Schleicher Rodeo Association president, clarified the festivities that will still take place at the 51st rodeo:
“The Mike Ryan concert was canceled but we are having a dance with state line band," Griffin said.
This major change is affecting local and area businesses economically.
The event organizers say the concert was expected to be put on - that was until COVID-19 hit.
Griffin said, “This year in our planning stages. We were going to have another concert.”
He said the concert will not take place in an effort to lower crowd numbers, which has heavily impacted Western Audio Works, who the rodeo had a $10,000 contract with, according to Griffin.
“Last year was our biggest crowd ever,” Griffin said.
According to the rodeo president, crowds in previous years range between 100-200 spectators and the concert increases those crowd by hundreds.
“The concert which really drives the needle and brings a lot of people into town,” he said. "We’ll be tickled if we get half of what we originally get.”
Brooks Willig from Western Audio Works said his company typically sets up shop at the rodeo, building the stage for performers who come into town for the event. His company is feeling the economic impact.
“That’s how we make our living. without any work, we’re just trying to get by one day at a time,” Willig said.
He said his company was planning its equipment and manpower for the event.
“It affects us plus all the free. the crew is all subcontract labor that actually work the show,” Willig said.
Overall, Willig said his business is just taking it day-by-day.
“Right now, we’ve just been in survival mood of paying the bills,” he said. “It’s probably going to be about 2-3 years before we get back up to speed.”
The rodeo organizers said they did not offer pre-sale tickets this year, however attendees can pay for tickets at the entrance. Tickets are $10 for anyone over 12 years old.
Saturday's dance is set for 9 p.m. with tickets $10 to attend.