BAKER CITY — Another of Baker City's signature summer events has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The annual Baker City Bronc and Bull Riding, planned for July 17-18, will not happen. The rodeo competitions have been a mainstay of Miners Jubilee weekend for 25 years.
In a press release Monday, Jason Mattox, who runs the Coastal Farm & Ranch Challenge of Champions Tour, a series of rodeos that this year was slated to include the Baker City event for the first time, announced that "it is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the cancellation of this year's Baker City Bronc & Bull Riding."
He said the bronc and bull riding event was canceled in part because "the state of Oregon has called for the ban on events until a minimum time frame of September 2020. The announcement makes the probability of factors outside our control forcing us to cancel the show at the last minute much higher. ... we feel it is better to cancel this year's event and plan to come back with an even greater event next year."
Baker County began Phase 2 of the state's reopening plan on Saturday. In that phase, gatherings of up to 250 people are possible, as long as social distancing guidelines are maintained.
The bronc and bull riding events draw larger crowds to the fairgrounds, which has a capacity of about 1,000 people.
Shelly Cutler, director of the Baker County Chamber of Commerce, which puts on the Miners Jubilee, said she doesn't plan to decide until the first week of July whether it will be possible to have some version of the festival.
Cutler acknowledged Monday the cancellation of the rodeo events, which aren't officially part of the Jubilee but are a major attraction during the weekend, makes it more of a challenge to plan the Jubilee.
Cutler said she has been consulting with county officials on preparations for a possible Miners Jubilee.
Other traditional summer events that have already been canceled due to the pandemic include:
• Baker City Cycling Classic in late June
• Hells Canyon Motorcycle Rally, second weekend of July
• East-West Shrine All-Star Football Game on Aug. 1
The Baker County Fair Board announced last week the fair will take place Aug. 3-7, including the 4-H and FFA market animal classes and auction, small animal exhibits, horse show and static exhibits.