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QUESTION:

Would you know where I could find a set of plans for an outdoor rodeo arena?

- Former 4H  leader & horse mother


ANSWER:

Go to www.powderriver.com and use their on-line catalog request form. Be sure to check the Rodeo Arena Plans item -- and in about a week you'll have a booklet with 13 plans from various arenas. I understand that they also have the capability to generate a 3-D computer plan for your specific arena.

Howard Pitzen Powder River is one of the nation's two top manufacturers of rodeo equipment and has had an excellent reputation for more than half a century. (And no, I don't have any connection to them -- I found this out by asking Howard Pitzen, a respected veteran rodeo promoter who has investigated many arenas across the country.)

Howard also offered a few other helpful comments... One thing he's noticed over the nearly five decades he's been in the business is a trend toward smaller arenas. At 150' by 250' Howard's North Star Stampede Rodeo arena at Effie, MN, is now one of the larger ones. For years the PRCA tried to require a minimum of 140' by 240' but eventually had to give in to the trend toward even smaller venues.

Another trend is toward enclosed arenas. Having a controlled environment means greater comfort for both the spectators and competitors - and never having to give a rain check. On the down side, it's also more expensive. The new arena at North Platte, Nebraska, even has carpeted alleyways and a raised platform behind the chutes. With his outdoors arena, Howard Pitzen deals with the weather by advertising that the North Star Stampede Rodeo is the last weekend in July - "Rain or Shine."

Finally, Howard warns, "there's no money in it." So why has he stayed in the rodeo business so long? "It's an addiction," he shrugs.

Happy Riding!

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