The Dripping Springs Fair and Rodeo is still happening this year on Oct. 16 and 17, but the event will be a little different — instead of a fair and rodeo, it will only showcase a rodeo for two consecutive nights.
Even though the city has not withheld hosting the rodeo, there will be limitations in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m expecting a lot less people for a number of factors,” said Rich Moore, the rodeo committee chairman. “We haven’t promoted it as big as we normally would because we hadn’t known if it will happen, we were waiting to see.”
Usually the Dripping Springs rodeo brings in somewhere between 1,200 to 2,000 visitors, Moore said. This year, no more than 600 people are allowed to enter, but Moore is unsure they will even meet that capacity.
The number of attendees not only benefits the event, but it also brings in revenue to the city through tourism. Many people from surrounding areas will come out, spend money on a hotel, food and gas, Moore explained.
“We are expecting to take a hit, but we don’t know how much,” Moore told the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch. “The only reason the rodeo is happening is because our sponsors are underwriting this. If that hadn’t happened, this would have been cancelled.”
Moore thanks the generosity of the sponsors for continuing to host this event because the rodeo is more than just revenue for the city. Money made through the rodeo goes to benefit Dripping Springs kids of 4-H and FFH, organizations that encourage and help kids get involved in agricultural projects.
In order to keep the event going, there are other safety factors the rodeo abided by besides the 25% attendance capacity.
They have hand sanitizers in many places, added two additional hand washing stations, masks will be required and the bleachers are taped off to promote social distancing. The rodeo is also abiding by a one-way rule for pedestrians so that people are not running into each other. For additional sanitization, bleachers will be wiped down between performances and doors, along with railings, will be wiped down hourly. Tickets are sold online so that there is little to no cash handling, but tickets will also be available in-person.
Even with all these changes and potential losses, the rodeo is still popular among city residents; COVID-19 will not completely halt their traditions.
“We’ve gotten a lot of encouragement from people saying please have it,” Moore said. “A lot of people are looking for something to do, and particularly in this part of the country, they look forward to rodeos.”