LIVINGSTON — With the Livingston Roundup Rodeo being sidelined last year due to the pandemic, nearly every business in town was impacted somehow financially.
Thankfully 2021 is a very different story, and the local economy is getting a much-needed boost over the Fourth of July weekend.
“I don’t know what the numbers are right now, but I know that myself and everybody on staff here are working harder than they’ve ever worked here, and that’s a good thing," The Mint Bar & Grill owner Richard Lowe laughed. "It’s the best problem to have.”
“This is just wonderful for our economy," Livingston Area Chamber of Commerce Leslie Feigel said. "Our shops are fully open at this point. Having an event like this, which now they’ve had like two months to get the kinks out, is what they need for their pocketbook.”
For a town that only has 8,200 residents, the Livingston Roundup draws over 10,000 visitors every year to its arena alone.
With the annual parade and Art in the Park festival also the same weekend, businesses did not see the same level of foot traffic last Fourth of July.
“It was obviously a bummer," Lowe added. "This is in the top two or three busiest days. To see that disappear, we saw months disappear. It was tough, but fortunately, there were a lot of programs available to businesses.”
It's estimated that the City of Livingston brings in approximately $3.4 million dollars over those three days.
“Fortunately, we had enough cushion in our bank accounts that we could survive the year," Livingston Roundup Association president Bruce Becker said. "We were able to put on the firework show last year without injuring our finances too much.”
To shine a light on why this rodeo brings in so much money for the town, out of the 650 sanctioned PRCA Rodeos in the United States, the Livingston Roundup falls in the top 10 percent.
“We’re number 39 by purse, so we’re in the top 10 percent of all rodeos in the United States by purse," Becker explained. "Not by attendance, but by purse, so we’re proud of that fact.”
“You know, it was a really horrible year, and this is kicking off really well," Feigel added. "Businesses are slowly opening, and they’re ready for all the visitors, so come on here and visit Livingston, Montana. We have it happening, and we’re not a touristy town, we’re just a town tourists like to come to.”