TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - Tippecanoe County leaders could approve the county's first facility to host up to eight rodeos a year later this month.
Rural neighbors say they support the idea, but first surveyors have to determine the ring won't wash away.
Twenty-four hours before July 4's rodeo gets underway, work continues to get the ring ready at Rancho Tres Potrillos. Business partner Tony Reece said he looks forward to each rodeo.
"What we want to do is give an opportunity for families to come out, spend a few hours, have some really good food and take in a rodeo," said Reece.
The rodeo has already operated twice, bringing in about 600 people on Memorial Day and 450 on Father's Day. While they had proper food and beverage permits, operators didn't realize they needed a special exception for the land use on County Road 1200 South at the intersection of County Road 575 East. It's roughly halfway between Romney and Clarks Hill. The rodeo is currently seeking the exception from the Board of Zoning Appeals.
Many neighbors like Judith Rempala support the rodeo and the family atmosphere it brings.
"At first, we were apprehensive because we had heard all kinds of stories, but we visited one of them and it was really nice," said Rempala.
Reece hopes to have up to eight rodeos a year eventually on the 16-acre parcel, mainly clustered around holidays between the spring and early fall.
For now, they are only offering Hispanic rodeos, which feature bull riding with many riders who don't use their hands. In between events, there's live music with the entire event beginning around 2 p.m. and ending by about 9 p.m.
"We've met with county officials, they've just had an open door for us," said Reece.
Planner Bianca Klinker says planning staff doesn't have a recommendation one way or another for the exception yet.
"It's certainly too early to tell right now. The county highway has been involved in terms of where their driveway is located," says Klinker. "You know we need to make sure there's enough room to park everything. The county surveyor's office is going to get involved."
With the east branch of the Wea Creek nearby, the biggest hurdle could be the floodplain and making sure things like the ring are certified out of it.
"Oh no, I have no objections," says Rempala. "People seem to be enjoying it."
The special exception for the rodeo is tentatively on the agenda for the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting July 24. But Klinker says, with the floodplain certification needed, the item may get moved back until August's meeting.
Reece says the cost is $10 per person and $40 per family for July 4's rodeo.
"I've had a lot of excitement in my life, this is a blast," says Reece. "It is a lot of fun."
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