I’ll admit it right up front: I enjoyed the Philomath Frolic & Rodeo’s Sunday afternoon performances. But I’ll also add, it was my favorite rodeo session for personal reasons.

The stands weren’t so jampacked and I could find a seat without much hassle. In my observations, the Sunday rodeo had the top competitors and you might actually have a shot at seeing a bull rider stay aboard for 8 seconds. And finally, it was simply a chance to have a bit of a lazy afternoon after busting my butt providing newspaper coverage over the two previous days.

Yeah, personal reasons.

But I certainly can’t blame the Philomath Frolic & Rodeo’s executive board for wanting to make a few changes to try to improve the bottom line. Putting on a three-day rodeo is not exactly an inexpensive venture and to keep offering these great events year after year, those numbers need to work out.

The Frolic & Rodeo board tried to make the Sunday afternoon performances work through promotions. But the attendance numbers have always been down for the matinee.

“We’ve called it Championship Sunday and done different things, but at the end of the day, our attendance wasn’t even halfway full,” Frolic & Rodeo president Chris Workman said. “I just felt like we end on a fizzle as opposed to ending on a big bang and I’ve always been of the attitude that you want to end on a high note and Saturday night is the high note.”

As Workman started to explain other facets of the Sunday performances, I began to realize more and more why the move made sense.

“Sunday is just a hard rodeo. It’s a 1 o’clock show, it’s the middle of July, so it’s hot,” said Workman, who is in his fourth year holding down the Frolic presidency. “The contestants are hot, the horses are hot, the contractors are hot, (announcer) Scott Allen’s out there trying to do his thing and he’s sweating to death.”

Meanwhile, I’m under the stands in the shade with my sno-cone. OK, those are pretty good points to consider. I mean, he’s right, it can get pretty darn hot out there in the arena.

The Sunday attendance may not have been as good as the Friday and Saturday night competitions just because everybody could have been worn out. Heck, if you take in most of the events that the Frolic has to offer, throw in an excursion through the chamber’s classic car show and stay until the band packs up its gear at 1 in the morning, those can be long days.

Then think about the people who are volunteering and working the rodeo.

“You’re coming off of Saturday night, which is a ton of fun and everybody’s excited and there’s the big dance afterwards and it’s our sellout night and the vendors are all excited,” Workman said. “Then you wake up Sunday morning and it’s ‘oh no, I’ve got to go to the rodeo.’ And it’s kind of a letdown a little bit.”

I’ll be interested to see how the online ticket sales and reserved seating works out for the organizers. Instead up showing up an hour early to make sure you get your seat, you can reserve them ahead of time and show up 10 minutes late if you want.

I’m sorry to say that I’m going to miss this year’s Frolic events and the chamber’s car show because I’ll be taking a week off with my parents in town. They’re going to meet their grandson for the first time. Maybe we’ll still make it out there in a recreational capacity, but my colleagues over at the Corvallis Gazette-Times and Albany Democrat-Herald will be taking my place when it comes to coverage.

In the meantime, I’ll continue my efforts to try to drop weight and get into better physical shape. One of my goals in life is to be able to get on and off a donkey and compete in those races in front of a buzzing Frolic crowd.

Brad Fuqua is editor of the Philomath Express. He can be reached at brad.fuqua@lee.net.

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