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You can have your space, cowboy: how an Odessa rodeo is navigating the pandemic

The live entertainment industry has taken a beating throughout this pandemic - that includes rodeos.
Published: Jan. 8, 2021 at 10:15 PM CST
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - The coronavirus has threatened to topple the rodeo circuit when it cut venue occupancy in half the last march.

The live entertainment industry has taken a beating throughout this pandemic - that includes rodeos.

Stock contractors, cowboys, and show producers are all people who depend on rodeos to support their way of living.

Bennie and Rhett Beutler are a father and son team of stock contractors who make their living traveling to different rodeos across the country.

With the rodeo circuit being their primary income source, the pandemic has considerably impacted their family business.

“It had a big effect on us last year. there were numerous rodeos cancelled. You’re sitting there at the house with pastures full of animals, pens full of animals and you’re feeding them day in and day out. They don’t have a job to go do and that’s your primary business, it has a great impact on you financially and just across the board,” said co-owner of Beutler and Sons Rhett Beutler.

Occupancy is limited to 1400 people at the Ector County Coliseum, but Sandhills Vice President of promotions that that ticket sales have been encouraging.

Bennie Beutler says that he’s happy to have people in the arena regardless of the number.

“We were at a place in North Platt, Nebraska last summer and we started on Wednesday. They went to orange up there in Nebraska so that means no people. We rodeoed for three days at North Platt, Nebraska where instead of having 2500 to 3000 people, we didn’t have anybody. They let us finish the rodeo but it’s not very much fun. We had a heck of a rodeo that nobody saw,” said stock contractor Bennie Beutler.

Several places around the country were forced to cancel their rodeo events last year, but the sandhills stock show and rodeo have been able to keep its event running safely.

Bennie Beutler says that the rodeo employees could not be more grateful that the show goes on in Odessa.

“Odessa’s one of the first big rodeos there is in the country. Odessa is one of the few. they cancelled Fort Worth. They cancelled Denver. But Odessa, these people here, they stuck their neck way out. we’re having a rodeo and everything. The cowboys love it. We got over 1150 entries here, most entries they’ve ever had in the history of the Odessa rodeo,” said Bennie Beutler.

The rodeo will be in town until next Saturday and you can still purchase tickets for it at the Ector County Coliseum box office.

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