Deadwood Days of ’76 Rodeo fans will have better seating and a new roof overhead during the 95th annual rodeo July 26-29.
“We’re trying to make it bigger and better and improve our grounds,” said Days of ’76 committeeman Ted Thompson. “It won’t change the look of it much, but all the seating will be better for the spectators, and of course the roof was needed, and the crow’s nest needed re-done since the poles were getting old.”
Some of the improvements will be easily noticeable, such as the increased capacity in the box seating with 22-inch wide cushioned chairs from Coors Field in Denver, Colo., and the crow’s nest will be three feet higher. Coors Field was replacing some of its seats at the same time Deadwood was looking for new chairs, and the timing just worked out. Other aspects will be less noticeable, such as replacing the existing metal roof and putting in new gutters and downspouts.
“It’s going to help the rodeo and give the fans options and better places to sit in comfort instead of a steel chair,” Nelson said.
Deadwood’s box seating capacity is increasing from 170 to 244, bumping up the rodeo’s total capacity to an estimated 3,500 to 4,000, said Greg Nelson, grounds chairman for the Deadwood Days of ’76 Rodeo committee.
“This is our 95th year, and the stadium has been there since the beginning,” Nelson said, estimating the current roof is about 40 years old.
The added height for the crow’s nest not only gives a better view from above, it also paves the way for potential future expansion of more box seats above the chutes.
“I see big things happening for the facility,” Nelson said.
The poles for the crow’s nest were going bad and needed to be replaced, according to Thompson.
“It will be good for the rodeo,” Thompson said. “We try hard to make it bigger and better every year.”
The grandstands’ roof is about 60 feet wide and 300 feet long – roughly the size of a football field. And it’s quite old considering how harsh the weather can be in South Dakota.
Earlier this week, the Deadwood City Commission awarded a $101,691 bid to repair the grandstands’ roof, and $9,300 to purchase 244 stadium seats for the main grandstand box seats in partnership with the Days of ’76 committee.
Thompson said teaming up with the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission and city of Deadwood helped make the upgrades and repairs possible.
“The city is paying a big part of the chairs, and we’re partnering with them and coming up with new things to improve our facility,” Nelson said.
“It’s been several years and it takes planning,” Thompson said. “It takes time and planning and lots of discussion and meetings.”
The project is expected to be done by June 1.
“I’m just looking forward to seeing it get done,” Thompson said.
Courtesy of PRCA