VALE – There will be no Vale 4th of July Rodeo this year.
Rodeo president Kurt Haueter announced Wednesday that the iconic, 106-year-old event was canceled.
The decision, he said, was made reluctantly by the rodeo board.
“It is a decision we didn’t want to make. I kind of feel like it was a decision that was not ours to make and it was kind of made for us,” said Haueter.
What the cancellation will mean for Vale businesses remains unclear but the rodeo is seen by many as an important economic event that pumps needed dollars into the Vale economy.
“I wanted to hold off as long as possible and give us the opportunity to collect as much information as we could to see if we could find any way we could do it,” said Haueter.
Earlier this week the 75th annual Nyssa Nite Rodeo also was canceled. That followed cancellations of the Jordan Valley Big Loop Rodeo and the Malheur County Fair in Ontario. The Four Rivers Cultural Center’s summer concert series also was called off.
Gov. Kate Brown’s restrictions on larger gatherings played a key role in the decision. Brown announced earlier this month a broad outline to reopen the state in phases, but still prohibited gatherings of 25 or more people. The governor said fairs and festivals should be canceled through September.
Vale’s rodeo was scheduled to run July 1-4 this year.
“Having that Fourth of July on a Saturday, that could have been a big year for us,” said Haueter.
The Vale 4th of July Rodeo was established in 1914.
Rodeo board member Jim Mendiola said he did not believe the rodeo has ever been canceled.
“I am disappointed in the whole thing, but everyone else is too. We will pack it away for this year and hope for next year,” said Mendiola.