MITCHELL | Officials with the South Dakota Rodeo Association say this weekend is the busiest of the year for rodeos.
A rodeo is held somewhere in South Dakota almost every weekend from the end of May through mid-September, The Daily Republic reported. This weekend, rodeos are planned in Lower Brule, Faith, Martin and Scotland.
The events are gaining in popularity and participation, according to association officials. The association sanctioned 31 rodeos this year, an increase of two events compared to last year.
"There is no question that the sport of rodeo is growing in South Dakota, and the small towns that host rodeos are a big part of that growth," said Dave Marone, the association's president.
Small towns put a lot of work into making rodeos successful, said Merretta Anderson, the association's executive secretary. The events provide an economic boost to areas through gas, lodging or concessions sales, Anderson said.
"It's a sport that is really embedded in these communities, and it's been a part of communities for over 50 years," Anderson said.
The small southern South Dakota town of Burke has seen a large amount of growth in spectator attendance, said Billie Sutton, the Democratic candidate for governor and the former president of the Burke Stampede Rodeo.
"In terms of fan base alone, the town of Burke continues to see triple the amount of its population in the three days we host our rodeo here," he said.
The association has an annual average of about 500 association memberships for people who compete in the events, Anderson said.