CHOTEAU -- The 75th annual Choteau American Legion Rodeo is the latest event to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, after the Teton County Board of Health voted against holding the July 4th gathering.
Rodeo committee members, including president Jerry Collins, presented their detailed proposal to host the NRA rodeo with strict social distancing and sanitation guidelines in place during a Monday night meeting.
The American Legion planned for 3,000 spectators at the rodeo grandstands, segmented into groups of 50. The plan also included entry and exit plans to avoid bottlenecks.
The sticking point was the crowd size.
After hearing the proposal and taking public comment, the board unanimously denied the proposal with one abstention, citing the vulnerable population of Choteau, concerns about enforcement of the guidelines, the recent increase in statewide cases and the difficulty of contact tracing.
“If you have one case out of all these people, you have no way of knowing who they were in contact with during the rodeo,” board member Elaine Sedlack said. “It would take an army of contact tracers to deal with that.”
The rodeo is the main fundraiser for the Choteau American Legion charitable efforts in the community. The board did approve a mixer to be held on July 3 to celebrate the rodeo and the history of the Choteau American Legion.